A dark chocolate a day keeps BP at bay
Dark chocolate is one that is full of nutrients and can have a positive impact on your health.
Origin of dark chocolate:
It is extracted from the seed of a cocoa tree and is rich in antioxidants. It is a form of chocolate which is made from cocoa butter instead of milk-based butter like – milk chocolate and contains higher percentage of cocoa.
Benefits of dark chocolate
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers risk of heart disease
- Protects the skin from sun damage
- Can improve brain’s functionality in short term
- Powerful source of antioxidants
- Highly nutritious
How does dark chocolate reduce BP?
Dark chocolate can stimulate the interior surface of blood vessels, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO), which is a gas.
One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure.
There are many controlled trials showing that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, but the effects are usually mild.
How does it help reducing the risk of heart disease?
The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL( low density lipoprotein)
In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries and we should see a lower risk of heart disease over the long term.
It turns out that we have several long-term observational studies that show a fairly drastic improvement.
In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death by a whopping 50% over a 15 year period.
Another study revealed that eating chocolate 2 or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect.
Message for the day
There is considerable evidence that cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, being especially protective against cardiovascular disease.
But of course, this doesn’t mean people should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat on. Maybe have a square or two after dinner and try to really savour them.