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How Dark Chocolate Can Lower High Blood Pressure

Updated on December 11, 2011

Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure. By eating just 30 calories worth of dark chocolate every day, your blood pressure can be lowered by as much as three points in just 18 weeks.

The study indicated that the inclusion of small amounts of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate, as part of a usual diet, efficiently reduced blood pressure and improved formation of vasodilative oxide.

Supporting this finding is yet another study published by Yale-Griffith Prevention Research Center in 2008. It suggests that eating 2.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.

Does it have to be only dark chocolate?

It is important to remember that it must be dark chocolate which is loaded with heart healthy antioxidants. Generally, what we are sold and eat is milk chocolate. The bar chocolate that you eat should have at least 60 percent pure cocoa. The higher the percent of cocoa, the less sugar. Read labels and avoid anything with artificial ingredients. If you are buying powdered cocoa the label should say just that - 'cocoa.'

For best results, It is best to make your own hot chocolate drink with pure cocoa and add your own sugar and milk, (or soy milk, or rice milk, etc.). Many of the hot chocolate or hot cocoa drinks on the supermarket shelves are filled with partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and loaded with artificial colors and flavoring.

If the label on bar chocolate says bittersweet or semi-sweet, it is made with chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar. Powdered cocoa is made from the solids resulting from pressing cocoa butter from chocolate liquor, then grinding the partially defatted material into powder. Cocoa powder should not be 'Dutch process' - this means it has been treated with an alkalizing agent to give it a milder taste; it also contains fewer antioxidants.

How do I pick a quality chocolate?

For quality, you may want to consider chocolate products labeled fair trade or organic. Fair trade chocolate should have a Fair Trade Certified label meaning it is certified by TransFair USA. The label assures that the workers are paid a living wage, and are protected from working with harmful pesticides. Organic chocolate products should bear the USDA organic label.

Another study has shown that chocolate can curb hunger. See link below.

dark chocolate

It must be dark!
It must be dark!

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