Trick… or treat?
A new study shows this popular treat can lower blood pressure (BP) and arterial stiffness…
Perhaps even better than some pharmaceutical medications!
Of course, there are a few caveats here.
But I’d say this is welcome news—as hypertension and arterial stiffness can increase risk of certain life-threatening events, such as heart disease and stroke.
Here’s everything you need to know…
A new ‘prescription’
This is the first analysis to show that cocoa flavanols (CF) could be a viable alternative treatment for high BP.
Researchers conducted a small, double-blind randomized control trial in 11 healthy, young volunteers (less than 45 years).
Results were published in the journal, Frontiers in Nutrition. And revealed that systolic BP (the top number) was significantly reduced by nearly 1.5 points in subjects taking CF capsules.
(Remember, even “small” drops in BP offer BIG protection to the body.)
In fact, after all the fancy data manipulation, the authors concluded that the magnitude of effects is similar to what standard antihypertensive medications achieve in clinical trials.
Researchers also found that BP and arterial stiffness were only lowered among subjects with high BP at baseline.
And this is important—because artificially lowering a normal BP leads to lightheadedness, nausea, and more.
Of course, these unwanted side effects are seen far too frequently among patients “treated” with antihypertensive medications.
To which I ask: Why aren’t we prescribing chocolateinstead?
Well, that’s where the caveats come into play…
Pure, unadulterated cocoa
For starters, chocolate is much cheaper than any drug you may be prescribed for hypertension.
So, clearly, prescribing chocolate offers no big incentive for Big Pharma!
But this “new prescription” would likely get lost in translation… because we’re NOT talking about your typical Halloween candy here… or even a box of chocolate. (Most of those treats contains entirely too much sugar.)
We’re talking about pure, unadulterated cocoa. Think baker’s chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, or cocoa flavanols in pill/capsule form from a brand you can trust.
(Please note that 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder has anywhere from 37 to 130 mg of cocoa flavanols—and this study used 862 mg. That may be too much to consume considering the bitter nature of cocoa. So, capsule form may be the optimal choice.)
More good news? The amount used in this study was similar to the COSMOS trial, which showed a significant reduction in major cardiovascular events when consumed over several years.
Of course, it won’t hurt to add some cocoa to your balanced diet as an occasional, healthy treat. Just stick with the purest cocoa product you can find, bar or powder. (The darker, the better. I always recommend 100 percent cocoa, but look for at least 85 percent.)
Then, mix it up on the stovetop with some water or unsweetened almond or coconut milk. Heat it up, and then once it’s fully combined, remove it from the heat and add just enough stevia or lo han to cut the bitterness. Drink it hot or cold—whichever you prefer.
Until next time,
P.S. To learn more about natural ways to help prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke—check out my Ultimate Heart Protection Protocol. Click here now!
“Assessing Variability in Vascular Response to Cocoa With Personal Devices: A Series of Double-Blind Randomized Crossover n-of-1 Trials.” Frontiers in Nutrition, 06/13/2022. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9234529/)