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Dark Chocolate Benefits - Your Heart and Blood Pressure

December 15, 2019

Dark Chocolate Benefits heart and hypertension

     As we get more into the holidays' mood and realize it's not only about time to share with family and friends but also about our health. Both allow us to experience #TheGoodnessOfLive with our loved ones. This article will show you at least three (3) heart-related chocolate benefits. That's why we should start to incorporate good habits that make us healthier.

     As a doctor, the health of my family and my own is always in my mind. I'm always amazed by all the dark chocolate benefits. The more I study it, the more I commit to it. Take advantage of the season, where everyone is enjoying the right things, and look for the best possible chocolate.

     The research usually starts with a question. I started wondering if eating dark chocolate benefits or lowers blood pressure. If it does that, then it might decrease the risk of a stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. This might be a huge step forward for medicine and chocolate as high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure contributes to about 50% of unwanted heart events worldwide and 37% of cardiovascular‐related deaths in Western populations.

     It turns out that researchers have been studying this hypothesis for years; because, as we have written before here, chocolate has a high concentration of flavonols. These antioxidants are a group of plant metabolites that provide health benefits through cell signaling pathways and beneficial effects. Flavonols are present in many fruits and give them their bright colors, and are hypothesized to have a beneficial effect on endothelial (the inner lining of blood vessels) function and protect against cardiovascular disease.

     A Cochrane Review updated in 2017, searched the studies available linking chocolate and cacao products with lowering blood pressure. They found thirty-five trials answering this question. Each study provided participants with 30 to 1,218 mg of flavanols (average antioxidant content 670 mg) in 1.4 to 105 grams of cacao products per day in the active intervention group. The comparison group received either a flavanol‐free product or a low‐flavanol‐containing cacao powder (average content 55 mg). The conclusion from this review showed that dark chocolate benefits your blood pressure by lowering it by 2 mmHg. This is a small but significant effect, especially coming from a healthy food product that we can all consume is a small quantity daily. The patients that benefit most are those who already have high blood pressure, i.e., hypertension.

     We also found a metanalysis, which is a numerical interpretation of multiple other studies, linking the chances of cardiovascular disease and chocolate consumption. This research included a total of 20,951 patients that ate chocolate from 1 per month to 6 or more times per day, based on food diaries. The men and women participating completed a food frequency questionnaire, including chocolate intake. Those who had more chocolate, approximately 15-100 grams per day, had a lower chance of heart disease (29% lower chance) and stroke (25% lower chance) when compared to those who ate no chocolate.  

     Both studies above confirmed, by rigorous research, that dark chocolate benefits and lower your blood pressure and as a result, reduce your chances of heart attack and strokes. Interestingly, these crucial results were shown in the short term. Moreover, the evidence showed no reason to avoid chocolate in any case, so no harm to your heart in the quantities mentioned above.

     If you're really into taking advantage of all the dark chocolate benefits, why don't you enjoy a Franceschi Choroní 70% bar on the go? It is like having a cafe con leche in the morning, but no dairy, just the flavor from these amazing fine cacao beans. It's one of our favorites, and we would highly recommend you to give it a try.


     We want to summarize the above by saying:


  • Keep eating your chocolate pieces regularly.
  • Your blood pressure will be lower, especially if you already have hypertension.
  • Reduce your chances of heart disease and stroke by consuming chocolate and cacao.

     Of course, remember to do a few of the other recommended heart-healthy activities like being physically active, eating less processed food, and reducing stress. Interesting, huh? Exactly what we think is to live #TheGoodnessOfLife.

 

Ramón E. Martínez




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