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Can Chocolate Lower Blood Pressure?

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Good quality chocolate should contain only a few ingredients like organic raw cacao, organic cane sugar, and organic cocoa butter. And chocolate CAN lower blood pressure. I can’t say the sugar is the secret ingredient, but the cacao is.

Raw cacao is  from the seed of the theobroma cacao tree. It has a dark brown color and bitter taste. It looks like chocolate, but the taste is quite different since it does not contain sugar or milk found in typical chocolate bars.

Cacao is a great source of antioxidants to support healthy blood pressure levels.

Cacao is a fantastic source of magnesium, a nutrient that assists with blood pressure control. Cacao also contains a good amount of potassium, another beneficial element for blood pressure.

Cacao is low calorie and provides a great addition to many recipes. I love the raw cacao nibs added to my “cereal” recipe (coconut flakes, nuts, chia seeds).

Other health benefits of raw cacao include:

  • Increases nitric oxide dependent vasodilation (1), which is good for your blood pressure.
  • Increases coronary flow (2), which helps your heart.
  • Decrease platelet reactivity (2), which reduces your risk of coronary events.
  • Decreased oxidative stress (2). This helps prevent cellular and cholesterol damage.
  • Lower blood pressure (3,4), which reduces your risks of heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems and even some forms of dementia.
  • Decreased mortality (4), which means you live longer.
  • Improves insulin resistance and lowers insulin levels (5), two components of diabetes linked to just about every disease.

Sources:

Fisher ND. Flavanol-rich cocoa induces nitric-oxide-dependent vasodilation in healthy humans. J Hypertens. 2003; 21: 2281–2286

Flammer AJ. Dark chocolate improves coronary vasomotion and reduces platelet reactivity. Circulation. 2007; 116:2376–2382

Taubert. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(7):626-634

Buijsse. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(4):411-417

Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 May;101(5):914-21

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