the dark (chocolate) master

Posted on January 21st, 2010 by by Solanova

Heart healthy supplements

Dark chocolate.  It’s not just for dessert anymore.  It turns out that some of the components of dark chocolate are responsible for improved cardiovascular health.  Some recent research indicates that incorporating (some) dark chocolate into healthy eating habits can help reduce blood pressure, boost insulin sensitivity, and can also add to overall heart health.

In a study involving 20 subjects with never-before treated Essential Hypertension (EH), consumption of flavanol-rich dark chocolate (DC) for a period of 15 days was found to reduce blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve several markers of cardiovascular health, as compared with consumption of flavanol-free white chocolate (WC), for the same duration of time. The subjects (10 men, 10 women; average age: 43.7 years) were randomly divided into two groups, where one group was assigned to consume DC (100 g/day – containing 88 mg flavanols) while the other group was assigned to consume WC (90 g/day – no flavanols) for 15 days, in an isocaloric manner. A 7-day chocolate-free run-in phase preceded the first 15 days of treatment, after which subjects went through another 7-day chocolate-free phase, which was followed by another 15 days of treatment, in which patients were crossed over to receive the treatment they had not received before. Various measurements were taken and evaluated after each treatment period. After consumption of DC, 24-hour non-invasive ambulatory blood pressure decreased (systolic: -11.9 mm Hg; diastolic: -8.5 mm Hg), serum LDL cholesterol decreased (from 3.4 to 3.0 mmol/L), and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) scores improved. Results from oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) were used to calculate the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), which decreased after consumption of DC, while both the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICK1) and insulin sensitivity index (ISI) improved after consuming DC. None of these beneficial effects were seen after consumption of WC. This study suggests, if included as part of a healthy diet with a balanced caloric intake, flavanols from cocoa, such as those found in dark chocolate, may help to improve various markers of cardiovascular health in patients with essential hypertension.

With sweet news like this, it’s easy to stay on the heart healthy track!

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Explore our health archives for many other ways to improve cardiovascular health. For heart healthy supplements, try one of our powerful antioxidant supplements with both Ubiquinol and Resveratrol, Rubi Qnol®CoQ10.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/34679,

Reference: “Cocoa reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance and improves endothelium-dependent vasodilation in hypertensives,” Grassi D, Necozione S, et al, Hypertension, 2005; 46(2): 398-405. (Address: Dipartimento Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L’Aquila, Piazzale Salvatore Tommasi 1, 67100 Coppito, L’Aquila, Italy).

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