health
Wednesday Jul 27 2022
By
Web Desk

Cocoa reduces and controls abnormally high blood pressure, study reveals

By
Web Desk
Image showing some cubes of dark and milk chocolate. — Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images
Image showing some cubes of dark and milk chocolate. — Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers at the University of Surrey found that cocoa may be a key ingredient to reduce abnormally high blood pressure.

To conduct the study, researchers investigated flavanols, a compound found in cocoa, in lowering blood pressure and stiff arteries.

“High blood pressure and arterial stiffness increases a person’s risk of heart disease and strokes, so it is crucial that we investigate innovative ways to treat such conditions,” said Christian Heiss, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Surrey, in a media release. “Before we even consider introducing cocoa into clinical practices, we need to test if the results previously reported in laboratory settings safely translate into real-world settings, with people going about their everyday lives.”

The 11 participants consumed either six cocoa flavanol capsules or placebos on alternating days. They found that blood pressure and arterial stiffness were only lowered in participants if it was high - combatting the myth that cocoa decreases already-low blood pressure.

Further, there was no effect when the blood pressure was low in the morning.

“Doctors often fear that some blood pressure tablets can decrease the blood pressure too much on some days,” Professor Heiss said. “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 personalized care.”

The research was published in Frontiers in Nutrition.