Reference: Stacy L. Haber and Karen Gallus.2012. “ Effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure in patients with hypertension“.Accessed 6th April, 2013.http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.sastudents.uwi.tt:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=b4bba394-a794-480d-9db4-b14b8dec7b58%40sessionmgr114&vid=12&hid=125
Ever heard that chocolate has benefits? Well, it definitely does! Research shows that this sweet sensation can help reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
Hypertension which is known as high blood pressure, can be caused by many factors, a few of which are obesity, lack of physical activity, too much alcohol, stress, family history of high blood pressure. Blood pressure is regulated by heart rate and stroke volume, strength of heartbeat and peripheral resistance. Peripheral resistance is altered by contraction (vasoconstriction) and relaxation(vasodilation) of the small arterioles. Peripheral resistance is increased by vasoconstriction but decreased by vasodilation. Increased resistance leads to high blood pressure while decreased resistance produces a fall in blood pressure.
Dark chocolate, sourced from the cacao bean, contains compounds called antioxidant polyphenol compounds, and these are known to improve the condition of high blood pressure. dark chocolate has a high amount of cocoa flavonoids. Why these flavonoids are relevant to blood pressure altering?? Because it activates endothelial nitric oxide synthase. It is believed that blood pressure is lowered by dark chocolate because of this activation ability, which results in arterial vasodilation. In 2003 Taubert et al tested this hypothesis to prove that dark chocolate really can help lower blood pressure. For this experiment, he used elderly persons with untreated high blood pressure. He did this by giving each participant both dark and white daily for 14 days. After a washout period of 7 days, they received white chocolate. After receiving the dark, persons blood pressures were tested and after careful analysis, the dark chocolate did in fact, lower blood pressure while the white chocolate did not have the same effect. As such, it is shown that dark chocolate has beneficial effects on elderly patients with untreated hypertension. In 2007, Grassi et al conducted a similar experiment, instead, he used individuals with both hypertension and impaired glucose tolerance. They also, received dark chocolate in two daily doses for 15 days.
Blood pressure reduced AND, insulin sensitivity improved!
Dark chocolate does more than we really think!
HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!! DARK CHOCOLATE CAN NOW BE INCLUDED IN YOUR DIET!
However, not in high amounts. Chocolate contains caffeine, and we all know what caffeine does to us. Remember not only coffee contain caffeine, which, should not be consumed regularly. Ever wondered what coffee contains to make you stay up late at night? Yup caffeine! Caffeine can eventually cause sleeping disturbances and tachyarrhythmias. Tachyarrhythmia is when a heart rate is over 100 beats per minute and can go up to 400 beats per minute. Scary isn’t it??
Dark chocolate is still chocolate, therefore, unfortunately, if we chocolate lovers overdo it, our blood glucose may be at risk. So we shall still ease up a bit on the chocolate.
I have always heard that dark chocolate is good for you, but I never looked into it until now. So now you also can know the reason behind these words. I hope you enjoyed this review.