Dark Chocolate With Extra Virgin Olive Oil Improves Cardiovascular Risk Profile

Small daily portions of dark chocolate with added natural polyphenols from extra virgin olive oil was associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile, researchers found.

Deborah Jones
By Julie Al-Zoubi
Sep. 1, 2017 11:03 UTC
Deborah Jones

The results of a new study car­ried out by researchers from the University of Pisa showed that dark choco­late enriched with extra vir­gin olive oil improved car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk pro­file in par­tic­i­pants.

Small daily por­tions of dark choco­late with added nat­ural polyphe­nols from extra vir­gin olive oil was asso­ci­ated with an improved car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk pro­file.- Rossella Di Stefano, lead researcher

The study was pre­sented at the ESC Congress in Barcelona ear­lier this week by lead researcher and car­di­ol­o­gist, Rossella Di Stefano who told atten­dees, We found that small daily por­tions of dark choco­late with added nat­ural polyphe­nols from extra vir­gin olive oil was asso­ci­ated with an improved car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk pro­file. Our study sug­gests that extra vir­gin olive oil might be a good food addi­tive to help pre­serve our repair­ing cells’, the EPC.”

The study com­pared the effects of dark choco­late sup­ple­mented with Italian Panaia red apple against dark choco­late enriched with EVOO on ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis (hard­en­ing of the arter­ies) pro­gres­sion in healthy vol­un­teers with car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk fac­tors.

The results showed that the EVOO and choco­late com­bi­na­tion was more effec­tive in improv­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk pro­file than the red apple com­bi­na­tion. The olive oil enhanced choco­late boosted good’ cho­les­terol lev­els, low­ered high blood pres­sure and sig­nif­i­cantly raised endothe­lial prog­en­i­tor cell (EPC) lev­els which are vital for blood ves­sel func­tion and repair.

During the 28-day trial, the vol­un­teers were given a daily 40-gram sam­ple of dark choco­late. For 14 con­sec­u­tive days the choco­late was enriched with 10 per­cent EVOO and on the other 14 days, the choco­late con­tained 2.5 per­cent Panaia red apple.

The study was car­ried out on 26 vol­un­teers made up of 14 men and 12 women, all of whom had at least three car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk fac­tors which ranged from smok­ing, dys­lipi­demia (an abnor­mal amount of lipids in the blood), high blood pres­sure or a fam­ily his­tory of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

The vol­un­teers smok­ing sta­tus, body mass index, blood pres­sure, glycemia and lipid pro­file were also mon­i­tored dur­ing the study.

At the end of the trial, the researchers con­cluded that the olive oil enriched choco­late had sub­stan­tially increased EPC lev­els and high-den­sity lipopro­tein (good cho­les­terol) and low­ered blood pres­sure in vol­un­teers.

The sub­jects also showed reduced signs of ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis pro­gres­sion. The apple enriched choco­late merely led to an insignif­i­cant decrease in triglyc­eride lev­els and no crit­i­cal health changes.

Olive oil choco­late first made the head­lines in 2,000 when French choco­latier L’Espérantine de Marseille’s olive oil choco­late won the cov­eted Cordon Bleu award at the INTERSUC con­fer­ence in Paris. A num­ber of choco­late man­u­fac­tur­ers have fol­lowed suit and gone on to launch olive oil choco­late.

Earlier this year, chef Thomas Keller and Italian olive oil pro­ducer, Armando Manni launched K+M Extravirgin Chocolate. The duo spent five years on research and devel­op­ment before per­fect­ing their recipe for an olive oil choco­late that would be good for the body and soul.

Armando Manni, co-founder of K+M Extravirgin Chocolate told Olive Oil Times, This excit­ing clin­i­cal trial is very promis­ing and aligns with the goals that we have always had when devel­op­ing our K+M Extravirgin Chocolate.” Manni added, We are now begin­ning to see other peo­ple in the indus­try sup­port­ing what we have always believed in.”

We know that K+M Extravirgin Chocolate has health ben­e­fits because the method­ol­ogy of our choco­late pro­duc­tion main­tains a higher amount of the antiox­i­dants flavonoids than tra­di­tional choco­late and the addi­tion of a small amount of Manni organic extra-vir­gin olive oil, con­tain­ing a very high quan­tity of antiox­i­dants polyphe­nols, it works as a booster of the antiox­i­dants.”


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