From Natural News
Monday, November 22, 2010 by: John Phillip
(NewsTarget) High blood pressure is a critical concern as it significantly raises the incidence of vascular disease and stroke. As a result of stress, poor diet and lifestyle, enzymes in our body produce a substance known as angiotensin II that causes blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to increase. Standard medical practice is to prescribe ACE inhibitors to slow the action of these enzymes, often with mixed results and always with dangerous side effects. Researchers have now confirmed that natural flavanols found in cacao from chocolate effectively lower blood pressure.
Natural Flavanols from Cacao Effectively Regulate Blood Pressure
Researchers have known for some time that the active catechins and procyanidins in many fruits, vegetables and green tea promote health and protect against disease through a variety of biochemical mechanisms. The results of a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology explain how flavanols from cacao and dark chocolate inhibit the action of angiotensin to influence the body`s fluid balance and effectively regulate blood pressure.
Study Demonstrates Blood Pressure Lowering Effect of Chocolate
The study involved ten men and six women aged 20 to 45 who were fed 75 grams of unsweetened chocolate with a cacao content of 72%. Blood samples were taken before and again after eating the sample chocolate to analyze the activity of the ACE enzyme. Researchers were amazed to find that the enzyme activity was reduced by 18%, effectively lowering dangerous blood pressure as well or even better than many pharmaceuticals.
The lead author concluded, “Our findings indicate that changes in lifestyle with the help of foods that contain large concentrations of catechins and procyaninides prevent cardiovascular diseases.” It`s important to note that the results were produced using unsweetened cacao as found in many specialty dark chocolates. The same benefits would not be conferred with commonly available sweetened milk chocolate and semi-sweet varieties.