Chocolate and Blood Pressure
In the early 1908, a physician and researcher at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Norman K. Hollenberg, was interested to observe that the Kuna Indians, the indigenous residents of the San Bias Islands of Panama, rarely develop high blood pressure even as they aged. Studies indicated that neither their salt intake nor obesity was a factor in this seeming immunity. Moreover, when the islanders moved to the mainland, their incidence for hypertension soared to typical levels, so their protection from hypertension was probably not due to genetics. Hollenberg noticed one facet of Indian culture that might play a role: The San Bias Is- land Kuna routinely drank about five cups of locally grown, minimally processed, high-flavonol cocoa each day. He gave his study subjects cocoa with either high or low amounts of flavonols. Those who drank the high-flavonol cocoa had more nitric oxide activity than those drinking the low-flavonol cocoa. The connection between the ability of the nitric oxide to relax the blood vessels and improve circulation and thus prevent hypertension seemed obvious. Hollenberg is continuing his investigation. He recently completed a pilot study that found that subjects who drank a cup of high-flavonol cocoa had a resulting increased flow of blood to the brain that averaged 33 percent.
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Another interesting study looked at the blood flow effects of high-flavonol cocoa compared with low-dose aspirin. The study compared how blood platelets reacted to a flavonol-rich cocoa drink versus a blood-thinning dose of 8i-mg aspirin. It seems that the twenty- to forty-year-olds who participated in this study enjoyed similar blood-thinning results from both the cocoa and the low-dose aspirin. It must be noted that the effects of the flavonol-rich cocoa were more transitory than those of the aspirin.
Sip your way to winter health…. Need another reason to curl up by the tire with a mug of cocoa? In a recent study, researchers at Cornell University found that a mug of hot cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of a glass of red wine and up to three times those found in a cup of green tea. Make your cocoa with 1 % low-fat milk, nonfat milk, or soymilk and sweeten it with minimal sugar. Avoid cocoa mixes, as they are high in sugar or artificial sweeteners and some contain trans fats. And Dutch-process cocoa is cocoa powder that has been treated with alkaline compounds to neutralize the natural acids. It’s slightly milder than natural cocoa, but it has lower levels of flavonols so, for health purposes, stick with natural cocoa.
What is a “Super Food”?
Well, the most important thing for everyone to know is that superfoods are easy to find in every local supermarket. They’re worth looking for!
These nutritional powerhouse foods are loaded with nutrients crucial to a healthy, long life.
If you can include a variety of them in your diet, everyday, we promise they will change your life!
These foods were chosen because they contain high concentrations of crucial nutrients, as well as the fact that many of them are low in calories. Foods containing these nutrients have been proven to help prevent and, in some cases, reverse the well-known effects of aging, including cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers.
When you click on each superfood you’ll find information including a list of the primary nutrients that elevated them to superfood status.
This is not meant to be a complete list of every single nutrient that food contains, but rather, a list of the high-profile nutrients that have shown health benefits and that are present in that food in sufficient quantity to make a difference. Many of the superfoods have “Sidekicks”. These are foods that are generally in the same category as the flagship superfood and offer a similar nutrient profile.
So click around and find recipes and tips on how to incorporate these foods in your daily diet.