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Open AccessReview

Cocoa and Heart Health: A Historical Review of the Science

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47304, USA
Nutrients 2013, 5(10), 3854-3870;
Received: 15 July 2013 / Revised: 10 September 2013 / Accepted: 11 September 2013 / Published: 26 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
PDF [263 KB, uploaded 26 September 2013]


The medicinal use of cocoa has a long history dating back almost five hundred years when Hernán Cortés’s first experienced the drink in Mesoamerica. Doctors in Europe recommended the beverage to patients in the 1700s, and later American physicians followed suit and prescribed the drink in early America—ca. 1800s. This article delineates the historic trajectory of cocoa consumption, the linkage between cocoa’s bioactive-mechanistic properties, paying special attention to nitric oxides role in vasodilation of the arteries, to the current indicators purporting the benefits of cocoa and cardiovascular health. View Full-Text
Keywords: cocoa; heart-health; nitric oxide; cardiovascular disease; medical history cocoa; heart-health; nitric oxide; cardiovascular disease; medical history

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Pucciarelli, D.L. Cocoa and Heart Health: A Historical Review of the Science. Nutrients 2013, 5, 3854-3870.

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