Raises Hdl And Protects Ldl From Oxidation
Consuming dark chocolate can improve several important risk factors for heart disease. It may protect against high cholesterol.
In a small study, eating dark chocolate supplemented with the flavanol lycopene was found to significantly decrease levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides .
Some forms of LDL cholesterol are more likely to oxidize, which happens if they react with free radicals in your body. Oxidation makes the LDL particle itself reactive and capable of damaging other tissues, such as the lining of the arteries in your heart.
It makes perfect sense that cocoa lowers oxidation-prone forms of LDL. It contains an abundance of powerful antioxidants that do make it into the bloodstream and protect lipoproteins against oxidative damage .
The flavanols in dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for diseases like heart disease and diabetes (
However, dark chocolate also contains sugar, which can have the opposite effect.
Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers oxidation-prone LDL and improves insulin sensitivity.
What Type Of Chocolate Is Good For High Blood Pressure
The best type of chocolate for high blood pressure management is bittersweet dark chocolate that is rich in cocoa solids. Any chocolate that has 50 to 90% cocoa solids is called dark chocolate. Cocoa solids are the parts of the cocoa beans that remain after the fats are extracted.
These cocoa solids are rich in flavonoids like catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, etc., which are thought to have blood pressure-lowering properties. The cocoa solids also give the chocolate a bitter flavor. Thus, eating bitter dark chocolate with at least 75% cocoa solids can help lower your blood pressure.
Powerlifting Lower Blood Pressure
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How Cannabis Edibles Affect You Differently
Its well established that cannabis edibles take significantly longer than inhaled marijuana to enter the bloodstream.
Smoking results in a near instantaneous onset, whereas consuming cannabis commonly takes between 30 to 60 minutes. But that can vary depending on many different factors including the users metabolism and the contents of the edible itself.
Overconsumption is a significant concern because of the delayed time to onset of its intended effects. Unlike inhaled cannabis, ingested cannabis must be digested first before being absorbed, and once it has been ingested, its on board, which means people might not feel effects immediately and hence inadvertently overconsume, said Dr. Lawrence Loh, MPH, an author of the research and faculty member at the University of Toronto.
Other significant factors in determining how quickly an edible could kick in include: sex, weight, diet, and tolerance to cannabis.
The effects of marijuana edibles also last a lot longer than smoking, with peak THC blood levels occurring around 3 hours after consumption.
The latency of the high from edibles can frequently result in an all-too-common scenario for some users: eating the edible, not feeling the effects immediately, and then consuming more.
Theres the potential for cannabis-induced psychosis, which results in paranoia, confusion, and hallucinations.
Particularly in older adults, cannabis can also result in cardiac events.
Dangers Of High Blood Pressure Medication
Exercising and having a normal weight can lower blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic, but many patients wishing to lower their high blood pressure, or hypertension, have turned to drugs for help 1. The alternatives are numerous. For example, diuretics, alpha and beta blockers, ACE Inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and blood vessel dilators are used to lower the blood pressure. Some of these have been linked with serious risks for such conditions as different types of cancers, heart attack, liver damage and stroke. Side effects of these medicines are also commonly reported.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Cocoa Flavanols And Blood Pressure
Cocoa is extracted from cocoa beans, the fatty seeds found on the Theobroma cacao tree. Rich in flavanols, cocoa is proposed to have a blood pressurelowering effect.
In fact, prior studies have shown that flavanol-rich cocoa and chocolate products cause a short-term reduction in blood pressure in healthy adults. Still, the long-term implications are not fully understood.
For the new study, researchers at the University of Surrey set out to discover if cocoa flavanols reduce blood pressure in healthy adults without making it lower on days when it was already under control.
Over several days, researchers gave 11 participants six cocoa flavanol capsules or six placebo capsules containing brown sugar, on alternating days.
The participants were also given an upper arm blood pressure monitor and a finger clip measuring pulse wave velocity to gauge arterial stiffness.
High blood pressure and arterial stiffness increase a persons risk of heart disease and strokes, so it is crucial that we investigate innovative ways to treat such conditions, Christian Heiss, professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Surrey, said in a statement.
Participants blood pressure and PWV were measured prior to consuming the cacao capsules and every 30 minutes afterward for the first three hours, and then every hour for the next 9 hours.
How To Start Adding These Foods To Your Diet
If it feels overwhelming to get all of these foods on your plate, start by ditching the processed, pre-packaged snacks, which can contain whopping amounts of sodium. Instead, keep whole foods like blueberries, pomegranate seeds, spinach and flaxseeds in the fridge to throw into a salad for a quick meal. Add some extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice and youve got a heart-healthy and delicious meal in under 10 minutes!
Guest Blog Post by Kate Hinman. Kate Hinman is a certified Integrative Nutritionist, attorney, and owner of Kate Hinman Wellness. You can find her at @katehwellness and www.katehinman.com
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Flavanols In Cocoa And Dark Chocolate
These dark chocolate flavanols have beneficial effects on blood vessel linings to reduce arterial stiffness and improve blood vessel dilation. The main way in which they work involves nitric oxide a cell signalling molecule similar to beetroot, l-arginine and sildenafil .
Dark Chocolate And Weight Loss
A 14 year study concluded that high dietary intakes of catechins was associated with a lower body mass index in adult women, which first gave rise to the idea that chocolate polyphenols might have long-term benefits for weight maintenance.
In a study involving around a thousand healthy adults, those who ate the most chocolate had a greater intake of calories over all, yet had a lower Body Mass Index at all ages and for both men and women. The level of exercise taken did not change these results.
Similar results were found in a group of 1458 teenagers, whose diets were analysed, their height and weight measured, waist circumference recorded, and fat stores assessed using skinfold measurements and bioelectrical impedance analysis. A higher chocolate consumption was associated with lower levels of total and central fat, BMI, and waist circumference, regardless of other factors such as age, stage of puberty, total energy intake, amount of fruit, vegetables, tea or coffee consumed, or level of exercise.
Researchers now believe that dark chocolate promotes weight loss in a number of ways, including effects on mood, stimulating fat burning, and by lowering blood levels of ghrelin an appetite-stimulating hormone produced in the stomach and pancreas.
Dark chocolate also reduces weight gain through effects on insulin sensitivity, and possibly by neutralising the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Image credit: pixabay shutterstock
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‘modest’ Benefit From Dark Chocolate
“Although the magnitude of the blood pressure reduction was small, the effects are clinically noteworthy,” Taubert’s team writes.
They note that larger studies are needed and that they’re not sure whether the results apply to people with milder blood pressure or hypertension patients with other health problems.
The study doesn’t show exactly how dark chocolate affects blood pressure. But the researchers note that compounds called flavanols in cocoa may play a role.
Other studies have also shown a link between dark chocolate or cocoa and better blood pressure. However, those studies typically involved bigger doses of chocolate or cocoa to get those benefits, Taubert’s team notes.
Their study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, doesn’t promise that dark chocolate is all that’s needed to beat blood pressure. A healthy diet, exercise, and losing excess weight are important for lowering high blood pressure.
But eating a small amount of dark chocolate daily is a dietary change that’s “easy to adhere to,” the researchers note.
The study was funded by the University Hospital of Cologne. In the journal, none of the researchers report financial ties to any chocolate companies.
- Will you add dark chocolate to your daily diet? Talk with others on the WebMD Hypertension Support Group message board.
SOURCES: Taubert, D. The Journal of the American Medical Association,July 4, 2007 vol 298: pp 49-60. News release, JAMA/Archives.
Dive Into Salmon And Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines tip the scales with their abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, making them excellent foods for lowering high blood pressure. Research has shown that their heart-healthy fats may reduce blood pressure levels by decreasing inflammation and bad cholesterol. If you arent a fan of fish, you can still get the benefits of these fatty acids from walnuts, flax seeds, and tofu.
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Dark Chocolate Helps Lower Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, you might be looking for a natural way to lower your blood pressure and your risk of heart attack or stroke. Youve heard about the health benefits dark chocolate is reported to havefrom antioxidants that protect our bodies against cell damage to heart-healthy monounsaturated fat to a variety of vitamins and minerals. But does dark chocolate lower blood pressure?
Theres good news for chocolate loversthe answer is yes! Keep reading to about the many benefits of eating dark chocolate, including how dark chocolate lowers blood pressure.
Get Cracking On Pistachios
Pistachios are much more than theyre cracked up to be since these buttery nuts have been found to help lower high blood pressure. These nuts are powerful superfoods for high blood pressure because theyre full of potassium, magnesium, and monounsaturated fats that have a strong impact on your blood pressure. So start sprinkling some of them over yogurt bowls and salads, blending them into a pesto for pasta, or simply grabbing a handful for a protein-packed snack to help lower high blood pressure.
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How To Choose Dark Chocolate
When choosing dark chocolate, it’s important to look for a bar that contains at least 70% cocoa. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the more flavonoids and antioxidants the chocolate will contain.
It’s also important to choose dark chocolate that is free of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives. Look for a bar that contains only cocoa solids in place of cocoa butter, which will affect the quality of the chocolate and its health benefits.
Avoid brands that have a lot of sugar or other ingredients that are not good for you. Avoid chocolates that contain Soy and gluten. There are many soy-free and gluten-free chocolates available on the market.
Lastly, be sure to check the label to make sure the dark chocolate does not contain more than 4-5 ingredients. More the ingredients more the chemicals and other artificial ingredients.
Cuckoo For Cocoa: Your Gut Loves Metabolizing Chocolate
In their study, 11 healthy people consumed six cocoa flavanol capsules or six placebo capsules on alternate days for a week. Each participant received an upper arm blood pressure monitor and a finger clip measuring pulse wave velocity which gauges a patients arterial stiffness.
The group took these readings every 30 minutes after consuming cocoa or the brown sugar placebos for three hours. They continued to monitor their blood pressure and pulse wave velocity hourly for another nine hours after that.
Results show that consuming cocoa only led to lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness in participants where those readings were already high. There was no effect when blood pressure was low in the morning.
Moreover, the study was also the first to find an additional peak in cocoas beneficial effect eight hours after consumption. The team believes this second peak in the readings likely has a connection to how bacteria in the gut metabolizes cocoa flavanols.
Previous research has shown that eating chocolate in the morning can actually help individuals burn fat faster. The study finds eating chocolate for breakfast can increase fat burning ability. It also reduces blood glucose levels, a key measure for people at risk from diabetes. At night, eating chocolate before bed led to changes in the participants resting and exercise metabolism the following morning.
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Exercise Eat Healthy Stay Slim Lower Your Stress
This to-do list is great for a healthy heart, but it may not sound like fun. Thank goodness, theres chocolate! Hundreds of studies have found that chocolatespecifically, dark chocolate keeps the heart and blood vessels in good shape. Here are some of the ways this delicious treat helps the heart:
Dont Have Time To Read
- Dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate if you have high blood pressure, as it is rich in flavonoids having antioxidant properties.
- Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, selenium, vitamin K, vitamin A, and several other micronutrients.
- Dark chocolate can help widen your arteries, improve blood flow, lower inflammation, prevent endothelial cell damage, and lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
- The high potassium levels in dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure by removing excess sodium from your body.
- Limit your consumption of dark chocolate to 30 g a day.
- You can eat some dark chocolate between meals or after a meal as dessert.
- You can add dark chocolate to your cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, or salads. You can also use it as a drizzle or topping or drink it in the form of hot chocolate.
- Eating too much dark chocolate can cause headaches, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, etc., due to high theobromine and caffeine content. It may also cause weight gain or a spike in your blood sugar levels due to the high sugar, carbohydrate, and saturated fat content.
- Dark chocolate can help improve insulin sensitivity, control blood sugar levels, curb appetite, improve brain function, and prevent cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
A cholesterol blood test gives important information about the amount and types of fats in the bloodstream. Types of fats include cholesterol and triglycerides.
Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in your body. Triglycerides are produced by your body and also come from the food you eat. When you eat, your body converts unused calories into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells and are released for energy in between meals.
If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, this may lead to high levels of triglycerides. If the levels of triglycerides in your blood are too high, they can affect your blood cholesterol levels.
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Can Eating Ice Cream Raise Your Bp
Ice cream can contain higher amounts of sodium than people may realize, says Benjamin J. Hirsh, MD, director of Preventive Cardiology at Northwell Healths Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, New York. Taking in high amounts of sodium increases blood pressure, so ice cream can contribute to hypertension.
However, another thing you should focus on with ice cream is sugar, Dr. Hirsh says. Processed sugar, including the sugars in ice cream, may contribute to weight gain. Most ice cream also falls under the category of processed foods, which are linked to inflammation and other health concerns, Dr. Hirsh says.
But we cannot be too hard on ourselves, he says. Diet derives from dieta, which means a way of life. As long as your primary focus is to eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other nutrient-healthy and non-processed foods, you can have the occasional ice cream. In other words, moderation is key.
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Level Out Blood Sugar And Inflammatory Markers
Dark chocolate also contains several anti-inflammatory components that can be immensely beneficial to your overall heart health. A study from 2018 noted that participants who consumed higher levels of dark chocolate consumption had reduced inflammatory biomarkers . This indicates a correlation with blood sugar regulation an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle that affects blood sugar, muscle exertion, and obesity. Overall, dark chocolate was found to be a beneficial addition for certain diabetic patients.
Properly taking care of your heart is an important part of living a long, healthy lifeso make sure to exercise and eat a bit of dark chocolate every now and then. Head to the CVG blog to discover more helpful tips for developing a healthy diet and lifestyle, including our best practices on navigating the pandemic as a heart patient.