Good news for chocoholics: Cocoa may reduce blood pressure

·1-min read

Here's some good news for chocoholics - cocoa may be beneficial for heart health.

Previously, cocoa flavanols have been found to lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness as much as some blood pressure medication.

Now, researchers from the University of Surrey have discovered that cocoa flavanols only decrease blood pressure in a person if they have elevated levels.

"The positive impact cocoa flavanols have on our cardiovascular system, in particular, blood vessel function and blood pressure, is undeniable. Doctors often fear that some blood pressure tablets can decrease the blood pressure too much on some days," explained Professor Christian Heiss. "What we have found indicates that cocoa flavanols only decrease blood pressure if it is elevated. Working with participants' personal health technologies showed us how variable blood pressure and arterial stiffness can be from day to day and shows the role of personal health monitors in developing and implementing effective personalised care."

For the study, the 11 participants consumed either six cocoa flavanol capsules or six placebo capsules containing brown sugar on alternating days. Following analysis, the researchers found that blood pressure and arterial stiffness were only lowered in participants if it was high, and there was no effect when the blood pressure was low in the morning.

Significantly, the effects were also identified eight hours after cocoa was consumed. This may be due to how bacteria in the gut metabolise cocoa flavanols.

Full study results have been published in Frontiers in Nutrition.

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