Monday, March 05, 2018

Dark chocolate can help lower high blood pressure

Dark chocolate and flavanol-rich cocoa products have attracted interest as an alternative treatment option for hypertension, a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Recent studies indicate that regular intake of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, has beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease risk by lowering blood pressure, insulin resistance, serum triglycerides, vascular reactivity, endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, indicators of inflammation, and anti-platelet activity (Corti R, Flammer AJ, Hollenberg NK, Luscher TF. Cocoa and cardiovascular health. Circulation. 2009;119:1433–1441).

According to the study, participants who enjoyed 100 grams of dark chocolate daily for 15 days had reduced blood pressure and become more sensitive to insulin than they were prior to the "experiment".

It has been hypothesized that flavonoid compounds found in foods, including epicatechin found in high-cocoa-solid chocolates, decrease the risk of death from coronary heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Polyphenols, in particular flavanols in cocoa products, have been shown to increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and consequently may lower blood pressure (Fisher ND, Hollenberg NK. Aging and vascular responses to flavanol-rich cocoa. J Hypertens. 2006;24:1575–1580).

Short-term administration of dark chocolate was followed by a significant increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in blood pressure in healthy subjects. Therefore, the daily consumption of chocolate (25 g daily) containing polyphenol-rich; high-cocoa solids for 8 weeks would improve cardiovascular risk factors in patients with diabetes and hypertension (ARYA Atheroscler. 2015 Jan; 11(1): 21–29).
Dark chocolate can help lower high blood pressure
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