May 28, 2010

Another tasty way to lower
your blood pressure

I've told you in the past that I have one dietary indulgence. It's dark chocolate. And if you like it too, then you probably won't have to worry about high blood pressure.

That's right. New research confirms the health benefits of chocolate. In a study of 19,357 people in middle age, those eating about 7.5 grams (or more) a day of dark chocolate had lower blood pressure. In fact, dark chocolate actively lowers blood pressure by about 1 mm for both systolic and diastolic.

But it gets even better. Those in the top quartile of consumption had even greater protection. These dark chocolate lovers had a 39% reduction in their risk of heart attack and stroke!

I've reported on bioflavonoids repeatedly. We see from green tea to seaweed extract (Alginol) to blueberries that plant chemicals do wonders for us. And I showed you in my last alert that tomatoes and beets lower your blood pressure too. So eat plenty of bioflavonoid-rich foods and watch your hypertension drop.

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There is one caveat when it comes to chocolate, though. It must be dark chocolate, to ensure more cocoa material (the source of the bioflavonoids). It will also ensure less sugar. And please make sure that it's organic or free-trade chocolate. Remember that there's a downside to everything.

There is some sugar in all chocolate, so please eat it in moderation. I average about 1 ounce of dark chocolate daily for the past two years. No, I haven't gained any weight. Of course, I watch my diet fanatically. But, since adding chocolate, my blood pressure, which was at 95/65 two years ago, has actually fallen to a level I've never seen in an otherwise healthy adult: 84/56.

I don't think that most of you will have to worry about the small amount of sugar in a high-quality (>70% cacao) dark chocolate. If you are diabetic, please do check for changes in your blood sugar.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

PS. I've written several articles on many other health benefits of tomatoes, beets, and dark chocolate. You can find these on my website.

Ref. "Chocolate consumption in relation to blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease in German adults," Buijsse B, Weikert C, et al, Eur Heart J, 2010 March 30; [Epub ahead of print].

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