How cocoa and dark chocolate bring sweet relief to blood pressure

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: In this photograph illustration a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate is broken in half on January 19, 2010 in Bristol, England. The US food giant Kraft has today agreed a takeover of Dairy Milk maker Cadbury in a deal worth 11 billion GBP, however many Cadbury workers remained concerned over the longterm future of their jobs. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
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Tea, grapes, chocolate, blueberries, apples, and red wine all share a common ingredient: flavanols.  These bioactive chemicals have been found to support healthy blood pressure In particular, cocoa extract flavanols have shown promising results in improving vascular risk factors in older adults, as highlighted in the short-term trials discussed below.

Cocoa extract supplementation and cardiovascular disease: Insights from a large-scale study

In a comprehensive study spanning from June 2015 to December 2020, researchers set out to explore the potential benefits of cocoa extract supplementation in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.  The study involved over 21,000 adults in the United States, including many women over 65 and men over 60 who were free from significant cardiovascular disease and cancer.  The aim was to uncover the impact of cocoa extract on cardiovascular health.

Participants were randomly assigned either a cocoa extract supplement containing 500 mg of flavanols and 80 mg of epicatechin or a placebo.  The results revealed a notable discovery – those who received the cocoa extract supplementation experienced a remarkable 30% decrease in cardiovascular death.  This finding underscores the potential impact of cocoa extract in reducing cardiovascular mortality.

While the study yielded promising results regarding cardiovascular death, it also indicated that implementing cocoa extract supplementation did not significantly decrease the overall occurrence of cardiovascular events.  The researchers acknowledged the need for further investigation to determine whether cocoa extract supplementation can effectively decrease clinical cardiovascular events.

Can dark chocolate and cocoa work their magic on blood pressure?

A comprehensive meta-analysis and systematic review delved into the effects of consuming dark chocolate and cocoa beverages on blood pressure.  This study focused on individuals who had previously been diagnosed with higher-than-normal or normal systolic blood pressure.  The aim was to uncover the potential benefits of cocoa consumption over a period of two or more weeks.

The analysis revealed an intriguing discovery – dark chocolate and cocoa consumption had a significant impact on reducing blood pressure.  When comparing the effects of chocolate versus cocoa beverages, it was particularly interesting to note that chocolate had a more pronounced effect on lowering resting systolic blood pressure.  This means that indulging in a square of dark chocolate might just boost your cardiovascular health.

Furthermore, the study highlighted that the potency of the blood pressure-lowering effect was heightened when the daily amount of flavanols exceeded 900 mg.  This emphasizes the importance of considering the amount of these beneficial compounds when seeking the maximum impact on blood pressure reduction.

Creative ways to add cocoa flavanols to your diet

If the thought of consuming sugary treats throughout the day makes you hesitate, don’t worry!  You don’t need to rely on sugar-laden concoctions to enjoy the benefits of cocoa flavanols.

Instead, let real foods be your guide to harnessing cocoa flavanols’ power.  Incorporate natural sources of cocoa flavanols into your daily routine to support your health.  Savor a square of organic dark chocolate, indulge in a cup of unsweetened cocoa, or relish a refreshing glass of pure cocoa-based beverage.  These real food choices offer a rich supply of cocoa flavanols, helping to reduce blood pressure and enhance heart health.

So, go ahead and savor the delights of real foods rich in cocoa flavanols.  Enjoy the natural goodness and reap the rewards for your health, one delectable bite or sip at a time.

By: Steve

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease, use your own judgement.

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