A COSMOS study shows cocoa extract reduces risk of death

A COSMOS study shows cocoa extract reduces risk of death

It has been known for some time that chocolate can have beneficial effects on our health. Research has shown that dark chocolate is good for your heart and that this treat can improve your memory. A recent study showed that the risk of death from cardiovascular disease decreased in a research group that was given cocoa extract.*

The COSMOS study

COSMOS stands for Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study, a study set up by Harvard scientists. More than 21,000 healthy people aged 60 and over took part in the study. They were given either a cocoa extract capsule, a multivitamin capsule or a placebo every day for about three and a half years.

Researchers drew several results from the study. There was no significant difference between the research groups with regard to cardiovascular events per se (such as strokes or cardiac arrhythmia), but there was a difference in the mortality rate due to cardiovascular diseases. This was 27% lower in the group that received the cocoa extract. 

The properties of flavonoids and flavanols

The health benefits of cocoa can be attributed to its flavonoid content and more specifically to the subgroup of flavanols. This substance is present in various plant species, including cocoa. Various studies have shown that flavanols from cocoa have a positive effect on the heart, blood vessels and memory.

Conclusion: is chocolate good for you?

Can we therefore conclude that chocolate is healthy? Obviously, this statement must be taken with a grain of salt. Indeed, the research group was given a specific cocoa extract while chocolate contains many other substances. 

One of the conclusions we can draw from the COSMOS study is that flavonoids have a positive impact on mortality from cardiovascular disease. This promising and groundbreaking finding represents a major advance for health studies worldwide.

* Source: Sesso HD et al. Effect of Cocoa Flavanol Supplementation for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Events: The COSMOS Randomized Clinical Trial Am J Clin Nutr. 2022;115(6):1490-1500