High blood pressure or hypertension is a
serious disease in the U.S. and in the world. It is so serious that every
day millions of people take prescribed medications in an effort to lower
their blood pressure to normal range. But what if the simplest of all
medicines was dark chocolate? Can dark chocolate really reduce blood
According to a recently completed German study, the answer is yes. Dr Dirk
Taubert, a researcher at the University Hospital of Cologne divided 44
adult men and women with stage 1 hypertension and ranging in age from 56
to 73 years into two groups. One group was given just over 6 grams of dark
chocolate a day, each containing 30 mg of polyphenols. Each day the second
group received an equal amount of white chocolate, without polyphenols.
The study lasted 18 weeks.
At the study's end, it was found that the systolic blood pressure of those
participants who ate the dark chocolate had dropped an average of three
points. Diastolic blood pressure was reduced by 2 points. In addition,
those who ate dark chocolate experience no weight gain. According to Dr.
Taubert, the study showed that "Regular intake of small amounts of dark
chocolate can help to lower blood pressure."
Although prior studies have linked foods that are rich in cocoa to lower
incidences of heart disease and heart attacks, this study specifically
focused on the effects of cocoa on blood pressure. It would appear the the
magic ingredient in the chocolate is polyphenols. The higher the
percentage of polyphenols in the dark chocolate, the more the LDL (i.e.,
"bad cholesterol") in the bloodstream was reduced. At the same time the
amount of HDL (i.e., "good cholesterol") in the bloodstream increased.
As the news of this study gravitates to the general public, there are
bound to be a number of important questions and concerns regarding the
intake of dark chocolate. Here are answers to a few:
What is a polyphenol? Polyphenols are a group of chemical substances found
in plants. Polyphenols are loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids which
have been shown to be very helpful in enhancing the immune system.
Will dark chocolate be covered by insurance? At the present time, no.
However, if universal health care passes, there is a possibility that it
could be covered. Write your congressman or woman.
Will I require a prescription to buy dark chocolate? Initially no. But as
the major drug companies invade the chocolate industry there are sure to
be patented chocolate medicines that will require a prescription. Talk to
your doctor for the latest info.
Can I overdose on dark chocolate? Yes you can, if you consume a great deal
of chocolate in a short amount of time. To best protect yourself, try to
only eat dark chocolate that has no alcohol and no sugar.
The important thing is not to go overboard on chocolate binges. If you
have high blood pressure and decide to add dark chocolate to your diet,
talk to your doctor and inform him of your decision so he can help you to
make the right dietary decision.
For more blood pressure related articles like
how to lower high blood pressure and
natural cures for high blood pressure, please come to our site.