Cocoa only reduces blood pressure and arterial stiffness when elevated, a new study from the University of Surrey finds.
Cocoa flavanols have previously been found to lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness as much as some blood pressure medication. However, how effective flavanols are in everyday life in reducing blood pressure has remained unknown, as previous studies in this area have been performed in tightly controlled experimental settings.
Surrey’s new research reduces concerns that cocoa as a treatment for raised blood pressure could pose health risks by decreasing blood pressure when it is not raised, paving the way for it to be potentially used in clinical practice.
In the first study of its kind study, researchers set out to investigate the use of flavanols, a compound found in cocoa, in lowering blood pressure and arterial stiffness in individuals outside of clinical settings.
Christian Heiss, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Surrey, said:
“High blood pressure and arterial stiffness increases a person’s risk of heart disease and strokes, so it is crucial that we investigate innovative ways to treat such conditions.
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