Cocoa flavanol impact on blood pressure is greatest when your blood pressure is elevated, according to a fascinating new study out of Surrey University in the UK.
Professor Christian Heiss, who lead the study reports, “The positive impact of cocoa flavanols on our cardiovascular system — in particular blood vessel function and blood pressure, is undeniable.” The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.
Heiss and his team are gaining global attention for their novel study showing that cocoa flavanol impact on blood pressure, for a specific individual, is greatest when your blood pressure is high. This is particularly important because blood pressure can vary throughout the day, as well as day to day.
Professor Heiss noted, “Doctors often fear that some blood pressure medication can decrease blood pressure too much on some days. What we have found indicates that cocoa flavanols only decrease blood pressure if it is elevated.”
The study tested 862mg of cocoa flavanols per day among eleven healthy young women and men. The findings supported prior studies showing overall reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 4.9 and 2.4mmHG. It also showed a 30% improvement in flow mediated artery dilation (i.e. flexibility of your arteries) two hours post cocoa flavanol consumption.
Although relatively small in size, Surrey’s results add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the profound cardiovascular and brain function benefits of cocoa flavanols, and suggest that flavanols may work harder for you when you need them the most!