Cocoa May Protect Men’s Hearts from Stress

BP Dove helps blood pressure, sleep and overall wellness through whole-body calming. We are always looking for ways to promote less stress and protect our bodies from the impact of stress. That’s why new research that shows cocoa may guard men’s hearts against the physical effects of mental stress interested us so much!

You might think of chocolate as a guilty pleasure, but the flavanols in chocolates have been shown time and again to have amazing health properties! While fat and sugar are something to watch out for, cocoa has benefits. This new research is another tick in the pro column for chocolate!

Flavanols that are found in high levels in cocoa, green tea and fruit, improve blood vessel health and lower blood pressure. New research found that drinking cocoa may protect men’s blood vessels against the harm done by being under stress. When you are under stress, your heart races, your blood pressure rises and your arteries dilate. That takes a toll on your body that can add up over time and increase your risk for a heart attack.

Researchers wanted to learn how flavanols could impact these immediate responses to stress. We know that they lower blood pressure in general, but could they help manage stress? Their study had healthy men drink cocoa and then do stressful mental math tests 90 minutes later. They increased the speed of the tests and had an alarm sound every time they answered incorrectly. Then 30 and 90 minutes after their tests, they measured the men’s cardiovascular responses and blood pressure to stress.

They ran the study twice with the same group of men at least seven days apart. One time they drank flavanol-rich cocoa; the other time it was a less rich cocoa. In the test, everyone still reacted with stress to the tests. But, when men drank flavanol-rich cocoa, they had increased blood flow throughout the test and afterward. They also have better vascular responses later — their bodies seemed to snap back quicker.

This find may make you feel a little less guilty about that guilty pleasure! You might want to add a cup of dark hot cocoa to your day if you know you have a long-stressful to-do list. If cocoa isn’t your style, green tea and many fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of flavanols. As kale and berries are so rich in flavanols, you could whip up a smoothie for hectic days!  

Remember, the other things that go into chocolate might derail your health goals. But, dark chocolate that is rich in flavanols might help you put your best foot forward in stressful situations!

Banner image: Sam Hojati via Unsplash
June 02, 2021
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