How cocoa flavanols benefit your blood pressure health

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High blood pressure and arterial stiffness are often silent but deadly conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

With this in mind, scientists from the University of Surrey delved into the cardiovascular benefits of cocoa flavanols—a component known to have positive effects on the heart.

The Study: Cocoa in Real-World Settings

Unlike previous research that often relied on clinical settings, this study aimed to see if cocoa flavanols can have practical, day-to-day benefits.

The study had 11 healthy volunteers take either six capsules of cocoa flavanols or six placebo capsules. Blood pressure and arterial stiffness were measured before and at various intervals after taking the capsules.

The findings revealed that cocoa flavanols were most effective in reducing blood pressure and arterial stiffness when these parameters were initially high.

Fascinatingly, the benefits of cocoa flavanols were sustained for up to eight hours post-consumption. Researchers hypothesize that gut bacteria’s metabolism of the flavanols may account for this long-lasting effect.

Cocoa and Medication: A Balanced Approach

This study is particularly noteworthy as it suggests that cocoa flavanols could offer a natural alternative to blood pressure medication, which can sometimes lower blood pressure excessively.

While cocoa flavanols can’t replace medical treatments, they do offer another layer of support for maintaining cardiovascular health.

Beyond Cocoa: Coffee, Tea, and Omega-3s

If you’re aiming to maintain healthy blood pressure, other options include coffee, which some research suggests may help control blood pressure.

Black tea has also shown potential in reducing blood pressure. Moreover, a daily intake of 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids has shown promise in preventing high blood pressure.

Conclusion: Sweet News for Your Heart

The study, conducted by Christian Heiss and his team, adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the cardiovascular benefits of cocoa flavanols.

While we wait for further research to incorporate these findings into clinical practice, enjoying a cocoa-rich treat could do more than tantalize your taste buds—it could be a step towards better heart health.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about a common and unrecognized cause of high blood pressure, and this small habit can greatly benefit people with high blood pressure, cholesterol.

For more information about high blood pressure, please see recent studies about more efficient way to treat high blood pressure, and 12 foods that lower blood pressure.

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