In November 2016 researchers from Japan published the results of their study to assess the effect of cocoa consumption on arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women. A total of 26 postmenopausal women (average age 64 years) were divided into two groups with different cocoa-intake frequencies: one group consumed cocoa 17g once daily except on Sundays whilst the second group consumed cocoa 17g twice daily every other day for a period of 12-weeks. Carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity and femoral-ankle pulse-wave velocity was measured in both groups both at the start and end of the study period. Results showed that in both groups the two pulse-wave velocities had significantly decreased at the end of the study period, indicating reduced arterial stiffness. No significant difference in degree of change was observed between the two groups. Although this study did not include a sedentary control group, these results suggest that regardless of frequency, habitual cocoa intake reduces central and peripheral arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women.
Okamoto T et al. Habitual cocoa intake reduces arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women regardless of intake frequency: a randomized parallel-group study. Clin Interv Aging. 2016 Nov 14;11:1645-1652.