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Can hot cocoa reduce pain from peripheral artery disease?

The research we're taking a look at.

Hot cocoa could also be just what the doctor ordered… for leg cramps. A small study was published on February 14. Circulation Research It found that adults with peripheral artery disease (PAD) who drank specially formulated hot cocoa had less PAD-related leg pain than those that didn't drink cocoa.

PAD is a condition by which fatty deposits collect and reduce blood flow within the arteries outside the center – mostly within the legs. People with PAD normally experience pain when walking. For the study, researchers gave 44 individuals with PAD a specially designed cocoa-containing drink thrice a day for six months. Cocoa drinkers were capable of walk a mean of about 140 feet farther in a timed walking test than individuals who drank the identical amount of a drink that didn't contain cocoa. There were also some improvements in muscle function and blood flow within the calves of the cocoa drinkers. While the drink was designed specifically for the trial, the researchers hypothesized that cocoa may contain an ingredient that helps muscle cells use oxygen more efficiently.

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