By Kathleen Blanchard RN for EmaxHealth.com
Peter J. Curtis PhD and colleagues studied 93 medicated postmenopausal women with diabetes who were randomly selected to receive 27 grams per day of flavonoid-enriched chocolate containing 850 mg flavan-3-ol (epicatechin) and 100 mg of isoflavones (aglycone equivalents) or a matched placebo. The researchers note that even though the women were receiving medications such as statin drugs and hypoglycemic agents, they were still at greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
Flavonoids are plant compounds that have a wide range of potential health benefits. Higher intakes of soy and cacao flavonoids have been associated in a recent small study with a reduction of cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women with Type 2 diabetes.
At the end of the one-year trial, the women receiving the intervention therapy had significant improvements in biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk compared to those taking the inactive ingredients. Those receiving the flavonoids experienced a significant reduction in estimated peripheral insulin resistance (failure of target tissues to increase glucose disposal in response to insulin) and an improvement in insulin sensitivity. The women also had reduced their total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio and LDL-cholesterol levels.