Check out this prescription: If you have high blood pressure, treat yourself to a few squares of dark chocolate. How do you like that? Admittedly, it is rare that chocolate is considered a nutritious food (though it is a plant-based food also called phytonutrient, derived from the cocoa bean.) In recent years researchers analyzed 15 studies investigating the effect of cocoa on blood pressure and concluded that dark chocolate is rich in chemical compounds called flavanols. These flavanols have the power to cause blood vessels to dilate, which can significantly reduce blood pressure for people with hypertension.
The researchers even concluded that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate can lower blood pressure approximately as much as 30 minutes exercise, and that it may reduce the risk of heart attack by about 20 percent over 5 years. Wow! And guess what else is high in flavanols…Red Wine! There are other foods containing the mighty compound too, such as cranberries, apples and peanuts that you should add to your diet as well.
Indulge yourself, for your heart, and reap the tasty benefits!
Susan Covey is the Fitness Program Manager at Acts Bayleigh Chase