It has powerful antiaging and antioxidant properties. It Boosts levels of NAD naturally, and it has been shown to lessen your risk of cardiovascular disease. As if that is not good news enough – It’s found in CHOCOLATE!
Epicatechin is a bioactive found in a distinct subgroup of flavonoids called flavanols. Flavanols are a subclass of flavonoids and can be found in a variety of plants. The unique mixture of flavanols found in cocoa is collectively called “cocoa flavanols,” and epicatechin is one of the simple flavanols in the cocoa flavanol “collection.”
While epicatechin isn’t new—it has been related with antiaging for decades—in the last ten years or so, the research focus on epicatechin has been more intense. As a key flavanol in the powerful mix of cocoa flavanols, epicatechin offers lots of health benefits and is also easily absorbed by your body.
One benefit of the epicatechin in cocoa is that it helps increase nitric oxide levels in your body. Nitric oxide (NO) has a number of positive health benefits for your body:
NO helps relax your arterial walls, which is critical for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and increasing blood flow throughout your body.
Total body performance:
Healthy blood flow allows your body to deliver the high level of oxygen and nutrients that vital organs, muscles, and tissues need to perform at their best – which can be especially helpful during an intense workout!
By promoting healthy blood flow to your brain, NO helps keep your brain oxygenated, which supports cognitive function.
In addition to nourishing your body on the inside, healthy blood flow keeps your skin healthy and hydrated, so you can look your best on the outside as well!
Research has proven over and over again that daily consumption of cocoa flavanols helps support heart health, brain health, and whole-body health.
Besides Cocoa, epicatechin can be found in:
- Tea, particularly green tea
However, cocoa is by far the leader in epicatechin content, but before you reach for your Snickers bar, that is still a “no-no.” By the time the cocoa that is used in most typical candy bars is processed, most of the epicatechin has been removed, and of course, the sugar and other junk in a typical candy bar are awful for you.
Dark chocolate is good, but you should choose raw cocoa powder in a beverage if you can. Approximately one tablespoon of raw cocoa powder has 10-15 mg of epicatechin. However, if you choose an alkalized variety of cocoa (which gives us the rich chocolatey taste with which we’re familiar), the epicatechin content drops to 1-3 mg per tablespoon because of the process of alkalization zaps much of the epicatechin.
There are also a variety of epicatechin supplements available. Read the label and make sure it has at least 450 mg of cocoa flavanols. As always, with any nutritional supplement, stick to a name brand from a respected source.