Study Reveals the Effects of Cocoa on Blood Pressure

Researchers at the University of Surrey have claimed that regular use of cocoa helps lower elevated blood pressure and ease arterial stiffness.

In a study published recently in Frontiers in Nutrition, a multidisciplinary journal that integrates research on the effects of dietary behavior on human health, Surrey researchers have highlighted the benefits of flavanols, a group of compounds found in cocoa.

During the small-scale study, researchers gave each of the 11 participants six cocoa capsules or placebo capsules filled with brown sugar on alternate days for a number of days.

The blood pressure of the participants was measured before consuming the capsules as well as every 30 minutes after consuming the capsules for the first three hours and hourly for the next nine hours.

They observed that blood pressure and arterial stiffness were alleviated only if they were high and there was no effect when the blood pressure was low in the morning.

The study has also reduced previous concerns that cocoa when used as a treatment for increased blood pressure could lower it to a dangerous level if it is not raised.

Commenting on the study, Christian Heiss, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Surrey, said that there are numerous benefits of flavanols on the cardiovascular system, particularly on the functioning of the blood vessels and regulation of blood pressure.

Heiss added that the study has confirmed that cocoa only decreases blood pressure if it is elevated, which negates the findings of previous studies that concluded that cocoa could lower blood pressure dangerously if it is consumed when the blood pressure is normal.

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