A recent study suggests that taking cocoa products can be helpful to lower blood pressure naturally. To know more about how does cocoa reduces blood pressure, read on…
If you thought that a dark chocolate bar is merely a delicious snack, think again. Eating a dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart problems arising from high blood pressure. This is because, having cocoa products may benefit in lowering blood pressure as suggested through various studies. This is perhaps the reason why dark chocolate is considered a heart healthy snack. The following article discusses how cocoa and blood pressure, go well together. As a reference, you can also go through this article on NutriNeat that talks about the various health benefits of cocoa.
Lowering Blood Pressure With Cocoa
Is the intake of cocoa and blood pressure reduction related? Recent studies have discovered cocoa’s ability to lower blood pressure. It is evident that cocoa from dark chocolate and drinks is beneficial to bring down blood pressure. Eating dark chocolate devoid of cocoa has shown hardly any improvement in blood pressure levels. The reason cited behind these contrasting results is cocoa has flavanols in high amounts. Flavanols are compounds that display antioxidant properties and promote proper circulation of the blood.
Studies also indicate that flavanols in cocoa are responsible for increasing the angiogenic cell count in the bloodstream. Angiogenic cells regulate the function of blood vessels and aid recovery from vascular damage. A damaged blood vessel may perform its tasks more efficiently when there is appropriate circulation of angiogenic cells. Angiogenic cells are important for the proper endothelium functioning.
Endothelium is a layer of cells covering the inner walls of the blood vessels. It promotes dilation of the blood vessels, thereby helping to regulate blood pressure. The onset of endothelial dysfunction may trigger atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries), a precursor to heart problems. However, as cocoa flavanols encourage the adequate flow of angiogenic cells through the bloodstream, endothelium also functions correctly, which in turn decreases the chances of cardiovascular problems. Some studies also suggest that it does not allow fatty substances to stick to the arterial walls.
Cocoa also provides a positive impact on the way the body uses nitric oxide. It is a known fact that the nitric oxide present in our body helps to maintain normal blood pressure. Research has shown that in the presence of cocoa compounds, the body makes use of nitric oxide more efficiently. This in turn helps to keep the blood pressure in the normal range.
It is observed that cocoa is also found in other popular beverages like tea. So, will drinking tea everyday have a positive impact on the elevated blood pressure? Well, unfortunately, studies do not indicate tea as a remedy to improve high blood pressure. This is because the actions of flavanols in tea are less effective in lowering blood pressure. A point to note is that the manufacturing process of standard chocolate cuts down the flavanol content, but this is not the case with dark chocolate. There is no substantial decrease in the percentage of flavanol in dark chocolate, as proper manufacturing methods are employed. This ensures that the dark chocolate does not lose a considerable amount of flavanols during processing.
Yet another study conducted recently proved the beneficial effects of cocoa in decreasing blood pressure. Subjects were divided into two groups, and one group was asked to drink two cups of a cocoa drink, while the other group was given a drink that did not contain any cocoa. The one that took the cocoa beverage did show reduced blood pressure. The study also showed that the amount of sugar you add to the drink will influence the cocoa’s ability to lower blood pressure. It is observed that cocoa with no sugar is more effective in reducing blood pressure than cocoa containing sugar. Thus, the activity of cocoa diminishes to a certain extent when it contained sugar. Therefore, drinking cocoa drinks free of sugar is definitely a good option when it comes to lowering blood pressure.
This was all about whether cocoa and blood pressure is a good combination or not. So, with cocoa providing blood pressure lowering effects, can it form an integral part of a hypertension diet? Officially, it is not included in any high blood pressure diet, the reason being, cocoa for blood pressure lacks extensive research and further in-depth investigation is needed to confirm its efficacy in lowering hypertension.
So, high blood pressure patients need to consult a doctor first before adding cocoa products (dark chocolate and drinks) to their diet. Also, people with a healthy blood pressure should eat these cocoa products in moderation, as they are high in calories, and so too much can lead to weight gain.