These hot summer temperatures make us think of one thing: hot cocoa! Okay, not really, but there is some compelling research from Northwestern University regarding the use of hot cocoa with patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease.

Northwestern University’s February 2020 study ( showed an improvement in walking distance of patients with peripheral arterial disease who drank hot cocoa. The clinical trial only studied 44 patients but was conducted with good scientific rigor.  Participants over 60 years old who consumed at least one tablespoon of cocoa three times a day showed a 20% improvement in walking distance.  This means participants who consumed cocoa (which contains the active ingredient epicatechin, a flavanol) walked approximately 42.6 meters (140 feet) further than those participants who did not consume cocoa.

This news of cocoa being of some benefit with peripheral arterial disease, coupled with the previously published benefit of red wine in cardiovascular disease, has led to great interest in the cardiovascular patient community!

On a more serious note, as of July 2018 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved payment for Medicare beneficiaries for Supervised Exercise Therapy for Symptomatic Peripheral Arterial Disease ( This consists of sessions lasting 30-60 minutes that are conducted in an outpatient setting or a physician’s office. Our Connected Cardiovascular Care team fully supports this program and would love to help our patients get registered to participate, if appropriate.

The nurses, doctors and staff at Connected Cardiovascular Care Associates are dedicated to the treatment of peripheral arterial disease, and we will continue to share encouraging articles about walking, exercise, risk factor reduction and general wellbeing with our patients at C3. Check back soon as we continue our Medical Monday blog post series and bring you the latest news in cardiovascular health.