Monday, September 26, 2016

Can Cocoa lower Hypertension?

Can Cocoa lower High blood pressure?

By: Arlene Gentallan

Can Cocoa lower Hypertension?
Can Cocoa lower Hypertension?


        Cocoa is use to make delicious chocolates. It is rich is antioxidant flavanol, mainly epicatechin. Researches shows the health benefits of cocoa among those suffering from hypertension and diabetes.

Did you know that theobroma (the latin name of cocoa) means "food of the gods."

        We enjoy chocolate nowadays in huge variety, mostly containing mouthwatering but potentially dangerous sugar, so for the sake of our health, let's focus on it's bitter form.




Dark chocolate vs. White chocolate

        In a study by Rostami, Khalili, Haghighat, et al., they've compared individuals suffering from diabetes type 2, in which one group is assigned to eat 25 grams of dark chocolate for 8 weeks while another group consumes 25 grams white cholate for 8 weeks.

        After 8 weeks, those individuals who ate "high-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate" has reduce fasting blood sugar, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, although they did not loose weight. On the other hand, those who eat white chocolate did not have significant improvement.



Cocoa is Heart Healthy

        Aside from cocoa's benefit in lowering blood pressure, regular consumption of this bitter goodie can also bring down "bad cholesterol" and dilates blood vessels.

        As we age, our blood vessel stiffens with lesser flexibility. Cocoa promotes nitric oxide production in the inner surface (aka. endothelium) of the arteries, causing it to relax and dilate.

        Blood pumping through stiff constricted arteries raises blood pressure. On the other hand, blood traveling through relax dilated blood vessels causes smooth blood flow which lowers blood pressure.

 Regular consumption of cocoa is linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular diseases.



The History

        Kuna Indians use cocoa extensively in their drinks and cuisine. These people have low incidence of cardiovascular disease. But Kuna Indians that migrated to Panama, who consume less cocoa flavanol, experience an increase in cardiovascular risk.




Hypertension "The Silent Killer"

        Did you know why hypertension is a silent killer? It's because many people with elevated blood pressure are not aware that they have indeed a high blood pressure.

        Having a high blood pressure can cause a person to feel nape pain, headache, dizziness, or have nose bleed. But for some people, this is not so. Even when their blood pressure is dangerously high, they remain asymptomatic.

        They don't feel the signs, they don't see it coming. With uncontrolled high blood pressure comes dangerous consequences like a sudden heart attack or stroke; kidney failure, and retinopathy



Here's a deadly example:

        You may be feeling nothing out of the ordinary, doing your usual work. But what you don't know is that you're blood pressure is dangerously high. Since you don't feel the signs, you continue whatever you're doing when all of a sudden a blood vessel in your brain could no longer contain the pressure in it so it blew...flooding your brain with blood, compressing it. You've just had a stroke ...will you be lucky enough to survive?



What is Hypertension

        High blood pressure (aka. hypertension) is defined as having a systolic blood pressure equal or greater than 140mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure equal or greater than 90mmHg.



Fact: The acidic environment of our stomach does not degrade flavanol.



Resources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26089927
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3022066/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16794463