Dark chocolate is now a favorite for researchers and cardiologists for its cardiovascular health benefits. Many studies have pointed out that the compound, polyphenol, found in dark chocolate, helps lower blood pressure, reduce stress, maintain blood cholesterol levels and boost heart health.
Today, we have enough research that points to the benefits of dark chocolate on cardiovascular health. Several studies have pointed out that products of the cacao plant, especially dark chocolate, is heart healthy and those who eat dark chocolate have lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, improved blood circulation and healthier cardiovascular systems.
Cacao is heart-healthy and several studies have shown the connection between dark chocolate and heart health. It energizes the heart and blood vessel cells.
Magic of Cacao On The Heart
The source of dark chocolate, the seeds of the Theobroma cacao plant, have abundant active compounds called antioxidants. According to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dark chocolate is one of the top dietary sources of antioxidants. Dark chocolate also contains bioactive flavanols and theobromine in abundance which is good for the cells of our heart and blood vessels.
Dark Chocolate And Cardiovascular Benefits
Lowers Blood Pressure
Research has shown the connection between eating dark chocolate and lowered blood pressure. In a recent study, it was revealed that those who ate 6 grams of dark chocolate daily were benefited by a significant drop in blood pressure. There was improvement in the levels of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Lowers Stroke Risk
Eating dark chocolate also reduces the risk of stroke, researchers in Finland found. The study found that those who consumed at least 63 grams (2 oz.) of chocolate in a week were benefited with a lowered risk of stroke as compared to those who ate no chocolate. Chocolate eaters were protected by a reduced risk of stroke by nearly 20%, researchers found.
Improves Blood Circulation
A 2014 study on the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate published in the American Heart Association showed that patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) who consumed dark chocolate were able to walk longer and greater distances. The blood flow to the arms and legs is reduced for those with PAD but those who ate 40 gm (1.5 oz.) of dark chocolate a day were in a position to walk 11 percent more and 15 percent longer as compared to people who ate similar amount of milk chocolate. During the study, Scientists analyzed the signs of oxidative stress in the blood, and certainly those who had eaten dark chocolate found benefits.
Keeps Cholesterol Levels In Check
A study found the benefits of lowered cholesterol levels in people with high blood pressure. Those who consumed dark chocolate saw a drop on their LDL cholesterol and increase in HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is known as the bad cholesterol and is connected to elevated risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol is considered to be good cholesterol and study found that these levels rose after consumption of dark chocolate. These benefits can be attributed to a compound found in cacao, theobromine, which is good for the heart.
Eating dark chocolate was found to relieve stress. A recent study conducted in 2014 which measured people’s stress hormones — cortisol and epinephrine found that those who ate dark chocolate were in a better position to handle stress. Stress is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The study found those who ate dark chocolate had lowered levels of stress hormones in their blood.
Dark chocolate positively impacts risk factors for high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and response of the body to stress and thus improves cardiovascular health.