A recent study from the University of Surrey suggests that cocoa can only help reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness when they are already elevated.
High blood pressure and arterial stiffness can lead to heart disease and strokes, so finding innovative ways to treat these conditions is important.
Previous research has found that cocoa flavanols, compounds found in cocoa, can lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness as much as some blood pressure medications.
However, it was unknown how effective flavanols were in reducing blood pressure in everyday life.
The team aimed to test the use of flavanols in reducing blood pressure and arterial stiffness in people outside of clinical settings.
They had eleven healthy participants consume either six cocoa flavanol capsules or six placebo capsules containing brown sugar on alternating days.
The participants’ blood pressure and pulse wave velocity, which measures arterial stiffness, were measured before and after consuming the capsules.
The researchers found that blood pressure and arterial stiffness were only lowered in participants if they were already high.
There was no effect when the blood pressure was already low in the morning.
The effects were also found eight hours after cocoa was consumed, and the team believes that the second peak may be due to how bacteria in the gut metabolize cocoa flavanols.
Cocoa flavanols have a positive impact on our cardiovascular system, particularly blood vessel function and blood pressure.
But it’s essential to note that this study suggests that cocoa can only reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness when they are already elevated.
Doctors are concerned that some blood pressure medications can lower blood pressure too much on some days, so it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider before making any changes to medication or diet.
Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for preventing high blood pressure. Here are some foods that can help:
Fruits and vegetables: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to lower blood pressure. They are low in sodium and high in potassium, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients.
Whole grains: Whole grains are a good source of fiber and can help reduce blood pressure. Whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereal are all excellent options.
Lean proteins: Choosing lean proteins, such as skinless chicken, turkey, fish, and beans, can help reduce blood pressure. Avoid red meats and processed meats, which are high in saturated fat and sodium.
Low-fat dairy: Consuming low-fat dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, can help lower blood pressure. They are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Nuts and seeds: Eating nuts and seeds, such as almonds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds, can help reduce blood pressure. They are high in magnesium, potassium, and other beneficial nutrients.
Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which can help reduce blood pressure. However, it is essential to choose high-quality dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids and eat it in moderation.
It is also important to limit sodium, alcohol, and caffeine intake to prevent high blood pressure.
If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about cannabis linked to blood pressure reduction in older people, and how herb medicines reduce high blood pressure
For more information about health, please see recent studies about how to live with high blood pressure, and results showing common diabetes drugs spike heart attack risk.
The study was conducted by Christian Heiss et al and published in Frontiers in Nutrition.
Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.