Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cocoa to forestall death and improve your blood pressure

There are reports out on the beneficial health effects of dark chocolate. This study compared the effects of tea vs dark chocolate/cocoa (vs neither) consumption. While both tea and cocoa contained favorable flavonoids, those folks consuming cocoa containing products experienced a improvement in their blood pressure (which would result in decreased risk of related disease and death) due to some additional flavonoids present in the cocoa.

Foods like dark chocolate, which contain plenty of cocoa, may potentially reduce high blood pressure by acting in a manner similar to many blood pressure-lowering drugs, according to an analysis of previous studies by German researchers.

Researchers report a two-week follow-up of these patients after which both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was lowered in the group consuming cocoa.

Researchers also warned the study was not a recommendation to consume large amounts of chocolate since they are still loaded with calories. "Rationally applied, cocoa products might be considered part of dietary approaches to lower hypertension risk," they concluded.

Certainly if you are going to eat chocolate choose the high cocoa containing dark chocolates, but don’t over eat them (all things in moderation). Obesity trumps these BP effects. Dark chocolate is better tasting anyway and certainly is better tasting than BP meds (caveat: only replace your meds with chocolate under the supervision of a physician).

A diet with a goodly amount of fruits and vegetables, exercise, and throw in a spot of tea and cocoa-containing products, that’s the ticket.

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