If you’ve ever wondered if your love affair with chocolate is a one-sided relationship, don’t worry. The latest nutritional research has some very good news. Because February is “Heart Month” as well as the month for Valentines Day, we will give you all the reasons why this delicious food is so good for you!
For Lower Blood Pressure
We mentioned in a previous post how cocoa consumption encourages the growth of blood vessels into your muscles. It turns out that cocoa also increases blood supply to your heart muscle as well. Add onto this the data showing increases of good cholesterol along with reductions of bad cholesterol, and finally improvement of the health of your arteries themselves. The overall outcome of all these results is lower blood pressure.
Four meta-analyses of randomized control trials found that ingesting cocoa epicatechins (about 50 grams of 70% cocoa chocolate daily) reduces blood pressure by approximately 4.6 points systolic and 2.1 points for diastolic.
Why Does Chocolate Help?
It is likely because consistent cocoa consumption increases the flexibility of your blood vessels. It makes them more elastic, so they can stretch (and not break) in response to high blood pressure spikes.
The more consistently it is consumed, the greater the effect. After 3 days, the arterial elasticity was improved by approximately 40%. By day 5, it was up to 65%. After 1 week, it had improved by 70%! This kind of high cocoa infusion is reversible, however. When it was withdrawn for a week, the artery stretchiness starting returning back to baseline.
The Bottom Line
From your heart to your head, from your muscles to your metabolism, your love of chocolate is totally returned. Across the board, there are two ways to nurture this mutually beneficial relationship: choose high cocoa chocolates, and consistently have a little every day. Win-win!
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