High blood pressure is often referred to as “the silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms until after it has done significant damage to the heart and arteries. Left untreated, a blood pressure of 180/120 or higher results in an 80 percent chance of death within one year, with an average survival rate of ten months. This is why proper management is so crucial when dealing with the condition. This includes being extra vigilant with what foods and drinks one consumes. Fortunately, there is a delicious treat that could help
- High blood pressure: Supplement to lower reading
Eating dark chocolate in moderation could help lower blood pressure readings.
This is because dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids which are plant compounds that case blood vessels to dilate.
Experts agree that for the strongest effects, use non-alkalised cocoa powder, which is especially high in flavonoids and has no added sugars.
Dr Karin Ried from the University of Adelaide, Australia said: ”Flavanols have been shown to increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and consequently may lower blood pressure.
There have, however, been conflicting results as to the real-life effects of eating chocolate.
We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure.”
What the studies say
In a study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, flavonoid-rich foods consumption and its effects on cardiovascular risk were analysed.
The aim of the study was to review the effectiveness of different flavonoid-rich foods on cardiovascular disease and risk factors including blood pressure.
The study found that the effects of flavonoids from soy and cocoa have been the main focus of attention.
Future studies should focus on other commonly consumed subclasses.
- High blood pressure: Avoid this food to lower your reading
In another study with The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that flavonoid-rich cocoa improved several markers of heart health in the short term, including lower blood pressure.
Dark chocolate also helps with lowering cholesterol.
As researchers note: “Rather strong evidence is found that cocoa consumption improves several important cardiovascular risk factors and likely reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Research touting chocolate’s health benefits has become increasingly popular in the past decade.
While tea, fruits and vegetables also contain these heart-healthy compounds, “flavonoids are notably abundant in the cocoa solids of the cocoa bean,” the study’s authors write.
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