From BikeRadar.com (click on the link for the full article):
Researchers from Australia have found that consumption of a cocoa ï¬‚avonol-rich drink may help to lower blood pressure, boost blood ï¬‚ow to the muscles and lessen the demands placed on the heart during exercise.
In the study carried out at the University of South Australia and published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers recruited 21 overweight, middle-aged people and split them into two groups. The ï¬rst consumed a cocoa ï¬‚avanol-rich beverage containing 701mg ï¬‚avanols, while the second drank a low-cocoa ï¬‚avanol beverage.
Two hours later, the participants cycled for 10 minutes at 75 percent of their maximum heart rate. Results showed that while there were no differences in blood pressure before exercise, there was a signiï¬cant difference afterwards. In fact, increases in diastolic blood pressure were 68 percent lower in the high-ï¬‚avanol group, while mean blood pressure was 14 percent lower.
The researchers said that the ï¬ndings suggest the consumption of cocoa ï¬‚avanol-rich drinks could allow for safer and more efï¬cient exercise performance, placing less stress on the cardiovascular system.