Cocoa May Lower Blood Pressure

Harry Hirsute

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Apr 12, 2006
Location
Propecia, CA
Daily consumption of a dark chocolate containing flavanols and added sterol esters affects cardiovascular risk factors in a normotensive population with elevated cholesterol.

Allen RR, Carson L, Kwik-Uribe C, Evans EM, Erdman JW Jr.

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. roballen@uiuc.edu

Previous studies with plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) provide support for their dietary use in maintaining cardiovascular health.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study evaluated the efficacy of daily consumption of a cocoa flavanol-containing dark chocolate bar with added PS on serum lipids, blood pressure, and other circulating cardiovascular health markers in a population with elevated serum cholesterol.

We recruited 49 adults (32 women, 17 men) with serum total cholesterol concentrations of 5.20-7.28 mmol/L and blood pressure of < or = 159/99 mm Hg.

Following a 2-wk lead-in utilizing the AHA style diet, participants were randomized into 2 groups and instructed to consume 2 cocoa flavanol-containing dark chocolate bars per day with (1.1 g sterol esters per bar) or without PS. Each 419-kJ bar was nutrient-matched and contained approximately 180 mg CF.

Participants consumed 1 bar 2 times per day for 4 wk then switched to the other bar for an additional 4 wk. Serum lipids and other cardiovascular markers were measured at baseline and after 4 and 8 wk. Blood pressure was measured every 2 wk.

Regular consumption of the PS-containing chocolate bar resulted in reductions of 2.0 and 5.3% in serum total and LDL cholesterol (P < 0.05), respectively. Consumption of CF also reduced systolic blood pressure at 8 wk (-5.8 mm Hg; P < 0.05).

Results indicate that regular consumption of chocolate bars containing PS and CF as part of a low-fat diet may support cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and improving blood pressure.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18356327?ordinalpos=4&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

note: The changes in cholesterol were likely due to the added sterols. I'm not in favor of the sterol-lipid therapy but I do think there's something to the cocoa flavonols.
 

Harry Hirsute

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Apr 12, 2006
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Propecia, CA
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Not yet. :oops:

But, I did make some coconut bread (kind of like a low-carb banana bread) this weekend. It turned out pretty-well ... though I need to tinker with it a bit.

I actually cooked two-dinners this weekend - lamb steaks on one night and scallops on the other with spicy, garlic sauteed broccoli as a side dish.

As odd as this may seem ... I just haven't craved too many sweets lately. But, when I do ... your dark cocoa bonanza will be on the top of my list. :)
 

scorpiotiger

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Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Location
USA
to be honest.. I haven't made it lately either. :oops:

I go thru periods where I get a real craving for chocolate.. and this is when these are GREAT. but other times I feel like .. ehhh!
 

Iggy Dalrymple

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Joined
Apr 9, 2006
Due to Harry's prodding, my morning beverage is a large (about 1 qt mug) of hot cocoa.
I add 1/3 cup of organic cocoa to hot spring water and sweeten with stevia.
 

Harry Hirsute

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Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Location
Propecia, CA
Original Poster
On occassion, I have a special hot cocoa - as a meal-replacement or snack. I make it just like yours but add some organic coconut milk to the mix. This usually keeps me satisfied for quite some time.

The coconut milk mellows the dark chocolate taste and adds it's own pleasant notes to the brew. And, organic coconut milk is pretty inexpensive. I use the Whole Foods house-brand (I think it's called 365).

Actually, I've been using quite a bit of coconut milk lately. I'm hoping it's as healthy as some people say. It sure is tasty.
 

Xania

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Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Location
UK
What is it about chocolate/cocoa? Last night/this morning, husband and I met on the stairs - insomniac, restless, unable to settle to sleep. We headed to the kitchen, heated some RAW MILK, added chocolate and enjoyed the drink, then slept soundly very soon after that. Tastier than sleeping tablets, and more effective. I can't comment on the addictive qualities yet.
 

scorpiotiger

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Jan 28, 2007
Location
USA
something else addicting (but don't indulge late at night unless you want to stay up)..

a rounded tsp of Mount Hagens instant coffee and yogurt (and sweetener).

and you can add a teaspoon of cocoa for mocha yogurt. yummmmmmm..
 

Harry Hirsute

New member
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Location
Propecia, CA
Original Poster
BACKGROUND: Studies suggest cardioprotective benefits of dark chocolate containing cocoa.

OBJECTIVE:
This study examines the acute effects of solid dark chocolate and liquid cocoa intake on endothelial function and blood pressure in overweight adults.

DESIGN: Randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blind crossover trial of 45 healthy adults [mean age: 53 y; mean body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 30]. In phase 1, subjects were randomly assigned to consume a solid dark chocolate bar (containing 22 g cocoa powder) or a cocoa-free placebo bar (containing 0 g cocoa powder). In phase 2, subjects were randomly assigned to consume sugar-free cocoa (containing 22 g cocoa powder), sugared cocoa (containing 22 g cocoa powder), or a placebo (containing 0 g cocoa powder).

RESULTS: Solid dark chocolate and liquid cocoa ingestion improved endothelial function (measured as flow-mediated dilatation) compared with placebo (dark chocolate: 4.3 +/- 3.4% compared with -1.8 +/- 3.3%; P < 0.001; sugar-free and sugared cocoa: 5.7 +/- 2.6% and 2.0 +/- 1.8% compared with -1.5 +/- 2.8%; P < 0.001). Blood pressure decreased after the ingestion of dark chocolate and sugar-free cocoa compared with placebo (dark chocolate: systolic, -3.2 +/- 5.8 mm Hg compared with 2.7 +/- 6.6 mm Hg; P < 0.001; and diastolic, -1.4 +/- 3.9 mm Hg compared with 2.7 +/- 6.4 mm Hg; P = 0.01; sugar-free cocoa: systolic, -2.1 +/- 7.0 mm Hg compared with 3.2 +/- 5.6 mm Hg; P < 0.001; and diastolic: -1.2 +/- 8.7 mm Hg compared with 2.8 +/- 5.6 mm Hg; P = 0.014). Endothelial function improved significantly more with sugar-free than with regular cocoa (5.7 +/- 2.6% compared with 2.0 +/- 1.8%; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:
The acute ingestion of both solid dark chocolate and liquid cocoa improved endothelial function and lowered blood pressure in overweight adults. Sugar content may attenuate these effects, and sugar-free preparations may augment them.
http://www.docguide.com/news/content.nsf/PaperFrameSet?OpenForm&refid=2&id=48dde4a73e09a969852568880078c249&c=Nutrition/Dietetics&newsid=852571020057CCF685257484003E0BE9&ref=/news/content.nsf/AllSpecNews?OpenForm&dt=s&specialty=Nutrition/Dietetics&u=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=18614724
 


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