Cocoa-rich foods more effective than a cup of tea

A chocolate treat may be better than green or black tea at keeping high blood pressure in check.

A new study suggests that dark chocolate and other cocoa-rich products may be better at lowering blood pressure than tea.

According to the study, the drop in blood pressure in people who consumed food products rich in cocoa for a period of two weeks was on par with some of the drugs taken specifically for that purpose. The study added that the drop in blood pressure could lower the risk of patients experiencing strokes or heart attacks by 10-20 percent.

Both cocoa and tea are rich in a class of antioxidants known as polyphenols which are considered to have a beneficial effect by protecting against heart disease and high blood pressure. But researchers say they contain different types of polyphenols, and those in cocoa may be more effective at lowering blood pressure.

People with high blood pressure are as a rule advised to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which are also high in polyphenols as these compounds are thought to have beneficial effect on protecting against heart disease and high blood pressure.

The findings do not indicate a widespread recommendation for higher cocoa intake to decrease blood pressure, but it appears reasonable to substitute phenol-rich cocoa products such as dark chocolate for other high-calorie or high-fat desserts or dairy products. Any dietary advice must account for the high sugar, fat and calorie intake with most cocoa products.

Researcher Dr. Dirk Taubert, says a rational approach might be to include cocoa products as part of a dietary guide to lowering a hypertension risk.

Via : MSNBC.com

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