Seeking natural remedies for high blood pressure?
Science shows how a candy bar is your golden ticket.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Robinson
Regular visitors to this site know you can reduce your heart attack risk by lifting weights. Heck, it's just one more great reason to strength train.
But how would you like to reduce your risk by a further 20% over the next 5 years?
Recent research shows how lowering high blood pressure naturally can be achieved without popping pills.
The magic of chocolate.
In addition to tasting good, chocolate – and especially dark chocolate – contains chemicals known as flavanols which naturally opens up blood vessels in the body. This means blood flows more easily and the pressure in your vessels drops.
An estimated 15 million people in Britain suffer from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension – around half of them undiagnosed. Moreover, about 10% of sufferers struggle to control the condition with medication or cannot tolerate the drugs, leaving them at greater risk.
So what's the solution?
"You don't always need medication to reduce blood pressure," said Dr Karin Ried, at Adelaide University who conducted the research. "This shows that there are some foods that can help."
For this latest research into natural remedies for high blood pressure, Dr Ried and her team combined the results of 15 other studies looking at chocolate and cocoa between 1955 and 2009 covering hundreds of people.
They found that for those people with hypertension, eating chocolate could reduce high blood pressure levels by up to 5% per year - the benefits to you? You get to reduce your heart attack risk naturally.
Indeed, for those suffering from high blood pressure the effect of chocolate was so dramatic it could reduce their chances of having a heart attack or stroke by 20% over 5 years.
"This is a significant finding," said Dr Ried."We’ve found that [chocolate] consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure...”
A word of warning: before you clear your candy shop's shelves, the amount of chocolate you need to eat for flavanols to work their magic is surprisingly modest.
While Dr. Reid said it will take more research to discover the optimal amount of chocolate that was needed to lower high blood pressure naturally, just one chunk (6g) to a whole bar (100g) a day could have a significant impact on hypertension and your heart attack risk.
So could Willy Wonka's love of candy help reduce hypertension without the need for pills?
If you're searching for natural remedies for high blood pressure, fantastic flavanols could be your answer.
Simply add some chocs to an abbreviated training routine and you are holding the golden ticket.