How to Lower Blood Pressure & Insulin Resistance: Surprising Dark Chocolate Benefits

Wonder about dark chocolate health benefits? Is it healthy to eat chocolates, drink hot chocolate or have chocolate strawberries for desert?

Certainly, chocolates can keep the doctor away, as one of the best foods that lower blood pressure. How?

  • Researchers are finding dark chocolate benefits to be as good as the medications for high blood pressure, and that it also helps you lose weight and with insulin resistance.
  • Go figure! After we have been told for ever that it is "fattening" and "bad" for us.

What are the "secret" health benefits of dark chocolate?  We've gathered lots of research to reassure you, so grab some chocolates and get the scoop here...

The answer is plant flavanols, or anti oxidant-rich pigments. What do they do?

These relax your blood vessels to lower your high blood pressure! So yes, eat good chocolates for hypertension, but there's more...

Eating a chocolate bar's been shown not only to lower blood pressure AND lower BAD LDL cholesterol, but also to improve how the body uses insulin!

Great news for early symptoms diabetes, but there's more...

Researchers are also finding that chocolate eaters tend to WEIGH LESS and to have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), in spite of eating the same amount of calories as those who don't eat chocolates or chocolate bars.

Here's what one scientist says about dark chocolate health benefits:

"Overall, there is compelling evidence that a high dietary flavanol intake reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and the associated risk of premature death." (Ian MacDonald, director of the Institute of Clinical Research at the University of Nottingham)

Flavanols are found in other foods, such as RED WINE, grapes, apples and green tea, but cocoa beans are a particularly rich source.

Why add chocolates to your high blood pressure diet?

High blood pressure is one of the top risks for heart disease, heart attacks, especially for getting a stroke -- worldwide.

The "ORAC value rating" of the antioxidants in darker chocolate is 13,000 per 100 grams, whereas blueberries are rated at 2,400 and spinach at 1,200 per 100 grams!

  • Science is just beginning to show how dark chocolate benefits can help you avoid going on heart meds for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as a natural remedy for blood clots to lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Really, Chocolates Don't Make You Fat?

Well, you may not want the sugar and additives in rich Belgian chocolate. But, you don't have to worry about getting fat from eating the best chocolate. How is that?

  • The study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine by UCSD scientists, showed that the people who eat chocolates often, WEIGH LESS than people who don't, even when the chocolate eaters ate MORE CALORIES!!

While certainly not an obesity cure, it's good news for chocolate lovers and those wanting to lower their heart meds.

NOT ONLY do the flavonoids in this chocolate help your heart by lowering your LDL or BAD cholesterol...

  • Chocolate health benefits could even help you lose weight!

NOT ONLY does eating good chocolates stop blood clots from forming by helping your blood vessels relax, but there is more good news...

Researcher Jokes that Chocolate is her Favorite Vegetable!

Researchers at the University of California in San Diego found that  chocolate health benefits also include reducing body fat!

Eating chocolates actually offsets the extra calories that people will warn you about when they don't understand chocolate health benefits.

Dr B. Golomb says that chocolate is "her favorite vegetable!" She and her research group found that people who ate chocolate more often had a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) even though they ate MORE CALORIES!

Surprise! Those who ate chocolate more often but did NOT exercise more, nor had a healthier diet, did WEIGH LESS!

People who ate chocolate at least 5 times a week had a better BMI than people who did not.

  • The difference was on average, 7 pounds, according to Dr. Golomb, who suspects that one of the flavonoids in chocolate called epicatechin may help explain this.

Why? Epicatechin, say researchers, boosts metabolism, reduces weight, AND increases muscle mass in animal studies, WITHOUT any change in CALORIES or in EXERCISE.

As usual, moderation is needed, so don't over-indulge in a whole box of chocolates thinking that you will lose weight!

The experts recommend about an ounce of chocolate a day, which is about a third of a darker healthy chocolate bar. 

Dark Chocolate Benefits, Not White?

Which chocolate is good for you? The health benefits increase, the darker the chocolate.

The darker chocolate -- not white chocolate -- lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany, in the The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Taubert's team tested six men and seven women aged 55-64, all of whom had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure.

Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got darker chocolate and half got white chocolate.

  • Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure).

Those eating white chocolate did NOT lower their blood pressure!

HOW ABOUT MILK CHOCOLATE?

Chocolate is rich in cell-protecting antioxidants.

  • Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.
  • A 1.4-ounce piece of milk chocolate typically has 400 milligrams of antioxidants, as much as in a glass of red wine.

The darker chocolate has twice as much; white chocolate, none.

  • Antioxidant activity jumped 31% in the blood of subjects at the University of California, Davis, two hours after eating 2.8 ounces of M&Ms semisweet baking bits.

A diet that is heart-healthy does not only lower cholesterol, as do statins such as Lipitor, but they have other “side benefits” including improving blood pressure and being anti-clotting.

How Much Dark Chocolate Benefits Diabetes and Hypertension?

If you have high blood pressure, a daily bar-sized serving of flavanol-rich chocolate might:

  • Lower your blood pressure, as well as
  • Improve insulin resistance to protect against diabetes, according to research reported in Hypertension, the Journal of the American Heart Association. This may help to be an early diabetes cure for you!

Although we are often told that chocolate is fattening, there is very little risk when you buy high quality 70% to 85% cocoa dark, bittersweet chocolate.

Regular but moderate consumption is best - ONE OUNCE PER DAY.

What's the Best Dark Chocolate?

The best chocolate is not laced with sugar and other ingredients, like the sweeter less "bitter" chocolate candies in a box even of Belgian chocolates.

Confectioners have spent years trying to perfect ways to remove the pungent flavor, because flavanols make chocolate and cocoa taste bitter.

Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. So remember, darker is better.

  • Organic chocolate is more likely to be of high quality and have been carefully prepared to preserve the flavanols and phenols.
  • Organic is also better because cocoa crops tend to be heavily treated with pesticides.

Organic cocoa minimizes your exposure to residue. And, by eating organic Fair Trade chocolate you help yourself and others!

Chocolate Strawberries Keep the Meds Away?

Occasionally trying a chocolate covered strawberry recipe will give variety and add dark chocolate benefits daily to keep healthy.

Be assured that there is a growing body of research that shows this favorite treat to be packed with high-quality "polyphenol" antioxidants.

  • These are similar to what's in fruits like strawberries, vegetables and red wine that reduces your risk of getting heart disease.

Rather than the risking the negative side effects of long-term use of heart meds, you can be pro-active, now that you know the dark chocolate health benefits as a healing super food.

Dark Chocolate Benefits for Your Heart

Here's a summary of dark chocolate benefits for your heart:

ANTI-CHOLESTEROL

There are antioxidants in chocolate that help block chemical changes in bad LDL cholesterol that would otherwise lead to clogged arteries.

  • Chemist, Dr. Joe A. Vinson, of the University of Scranton found chocolate's antioxidants to counteract LDLs better than did vitamin C or vitamin E.
  • Research by Penny Kris-Etherton at Pennsylvania State University shows that diets rich in darker chocolate or cocoa powder are protective:

"The results for people eating the darker chocolate and cocoa powder showed that their increased antioxidant levels protected the LDL Cholesterol (BAD CHOLESTEROL) from being oxidized."

  • Only when it is "oxidized", or RANCID, is cholesterol bad for you!

Only when oxidized does LDL cholesterol play a part in the process of atherosclerosis.

  • Besides that they also found that, HDL cholesterol (GOOD CHOLESTEROL) LEVELS WERE INCREASED. Both of these findings are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease," explains Kris-Etherton.

This research on chocolate was done in Japan, where they fed cocoa extract to rabbits and discovered that it slowed down CHOLESTEROL oxidation, which in turn stopped the build up of plaques in the artieries!

  • More good news. In another experiment, a phenol compound in cocoa called epicatechin was shown to inhibit the formation of skin tumors in mice.

CLOT BLOCKER

Chocolate antioxidants act like aspirin to reduce blood platelet stickiness and thus the clotting that triggers heart attacks and strokes.

In one study, 30 subjects drank water, a caffeine drink or a cocoa drink containing the antioxidants of one and a half normal hot chocolate cocoa drink. 

  • The cocoa significantly delayed blood-clotting time.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

Those who ate the dark, good chocolate in Dr Taubert’s study had a significant drop in blood pressure! (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure)

Chocolate has also been reported as a blood vessel relaxant in research published in the Journal of Nutrition, by Kappagoda and Tissa.

Dark Chocolate Benefits Like Aspirin?

It turns out that chocolates, like aspirin, affects the platelets in the blood that cause blood to clot.

How?

A study at the Johns Hopkins University 's School of Medicine discovered that yes, chocolate does help a little bit.

  • According to the researcher, Diane Becker, chocolate does help against blood clots, but it does NOT have the magnitude of the effects of a single baby aspirin per day.

How the 70% Chocolate Bar Came About

Here's the history of chocolate bars changing from milk chocolate bars to dark chocolate benfits:

It started in London England in 1991 when someone sent Craig Sams the founder of Whole Earth a sample of dark 70% chocolate that was made from organic cocoa beans.

His wife, who was a confirmed chocoholic,  Jo, found the half-eaten bar on Craig's desk and tried it.

  • She found that its intense flavor was unique and unlike anything she had tasted before, so she was excited!

Jo was convinced that chocolate lovers would appreciate it in the same way she had, so that she and her husband began to make the world's first organic chocolate.

They made the first dark bittersweet chocolate bar with 70% cocoa solids. Their brand, Green and Blacks Organic Hot Chocolate is made with Fair trade fine flavored cocoa beans.

  • Chocolate lovers will want to try their brand cocoa for hot chocolate as well. Their cocoa powder has a complex flavor and is alkalized, or "Dutched" to emphasize the robust chocolately notes.

Ideal for enjoying as a soothing hot chocolate milk drink at night.

Chocolate Health Benefits for both You and for Cocoa Producing Communities

Chocolate is not only good for you, but it is the livelihood of many small farmers around the world. So do buy chocolates that have a connection to the growers.

  • Yes, fair trade chocolate usually costs more, but you will extend the health benefits of chocolate to families who grow cocao.

Find out more about buying dignity by supporting small family farmers and fostering sustainable, healthy and profitable farming practices so that it is a win- win for everyone:

World Cocoa Foundation

We hope you have enjoyed our research revealing "nature's secret" dark chocolate benefits.

  • We trust that you will now know how to lower blood pressure without meds, with chocolates and foods that lower blood pressure.

We think that it's very good news that chocolates -- good dark chocolate benefits as much as your heart meds with their dangerous "side effects"!

  • So go ahead and have a cup of hot chocolate, get a good chocolate covered strawberries recipe and munch an ounce of good chocolate today!
  • Buy chocolate gifts for yourself or put a smile on someone's else's face!

The darker the chocolates, the more the flavenols with the health benefits, and with Fair Trade you also help the planet!

Here’s to enjoying a longer life with fewer medications feeling great with dark chocolate benefits!

How to Lower Blood Pressure, Insulin Resistance & Insulin Weight Gain: Dark Chocolate Benefits as Good as Meds for High Blood Pressure!

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