Raw chocolate – can it lower blood pressure? - by The Superfood blog
Posted on February 14 2013
An increasingly sedentary lifestyle combined with a contemporary diet that is high in saturated fats and unhealthy refined sugars, is putting more and more of us at risk of serious illnesses such as chronic obesity, diabetes and the UK’s number one killer, heart disease. According to the British Heart Foundation a massive 25% of all UK deaths (in excess of 179,000 a year) are caused by heart and circulatory disease alone. One of the most common early warning signs of heart disease is high blood pressure, a condition that is already estimated to affect some 30% of us. So, how can you lower your blood pressure to prevent the onset of heart disease and where exactly does raw chocolate come in?
How can I lower my blood pressure?
High blood pressure often arises without any noticeable symptoms – indeed it’s estimated that up to 5 million Brits are totally unaware that they have high blood pressure at all. Left unaddressed, high blood pressure may lead to stroke, kidney disease and in some cases even impaired vision, as well as heart attack and heart failure.
It’s therefore extremely important to have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis, particularly if you are over 40, as our blood vessels become less flexible and suffer from reduced blood flow with age. And, although high blood pressure can be hereditary, the condition is often provoked by our modern lifestyle. This means that there are a number of positive steps that you can take now to actively lower it.
The NHS for example, recommends that you do the following:
• Quit smoking
• Reduce you alcohol intake
• Avoid eating too much salt
• Take plenty of exercise
• Maintain a sensible body weight
• Enjoy a healthy and varied diet
What else can I do to lower my blood pressure?
In addition to the lifestyle factors mentioned above, high blood pressure can be triggered or exacerbated by a shortage of essential nutrients, such as magnesium – a mineral often lacking in our diet. Scientific research recently published in the British Medical Journal, confirmed that patients undergoing medical treatment for arterial hypertension or congestive heart failure, witnessed a demonstrable decrease in their systolic and diastolic blood pressures after receiving a daily supplement of magnesium for six months.
And it is well known that consuming around 350-500 mg of magnesium each day is an effective way to both lower and regulate blood pressure.
How can I boost my magnesium intake?
Fortunately there are a number of mineral-rich super foods that boast particularly high amounts of magnesium. These include almonds, spinach, broccoli, root vegetables, beans, lentils, bananas, avocados and our absolute favourite, raw chocolate.
Raw chocolate is prepared from nutrient dense raw cacao, which is packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and essential fatty acids and is one of the richest edible sources of magnesium known to man. It contains a whopping 420mg of magnesium per every 100g (that’s an incredible 37 times more than 1 ounce of broccoli and 17.5 times more than your average sized banana) and is a powerful weapon in the fight against high blood pressure.
But can eating raw chocolate really help lower my blood pressure?
Raw chocolate has been used by both traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic doctors to treat the heart, kidneys and spleen for centuries and a recent analysis of the Kuna Indians on Panama’s San Blas islands, revealed that their unusually low blood pressure was directly attributed to a popular local tipple prepared from raw cacao beans.
Eating fibre rich raw chocolate also promotes a feeling of fullness and its exceptionally high chromium content encourages the burning of fat, resulting in significant weight loss that eliminates another of the major risk factors associated with high blood pressure. By consuming raw chocolate you are literally eating your way to a trim body and low blood pressure!
Delicious raw chocolate can be readily incorporated into your existing diet, either by rustling up a selection of tempting raw chocolate recipes at home or by choosing from the wide selection of ready made, organic raw chocolate bars now available.