dark chocolate protects you from stress induced cardiovascular disease

Who’s feeling any stress these days? Stress can lead to increases in heart rate and blood pressure. It can also impair functioning of your arteries. These harmful effects can increase your risk of cardiovascular events.

If you reach for dark chocolate when you’re stressed, then you may be helping your heart as well as your stress.

In our book, Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods, we have a whole chapter on the benefits of dark chocolate for your cardiovascular system. In the chapter on chocolate and your mind, we also discuss dark chocolates benefits for anxiety and stress. Early research suggests that dark chocolate can help both stress and anxiety and protect you from some of the ill effects of stress on your body, like stress induced inflammation.

Now a new study adds to the evidence that eating dark chocolate helps protect you from the harmful effects of stress on your body by showing that it can protect you from stress induced heart problems.

The study found that flavanol-rich dark chocolate reduces temporary impairment of endothelial function and improves blood flow during stress. The endothelial wall is a single layer of cells that lines the inside of your heart and blood vessels. A healthy endothelial wall is vital for regulating blood vessel tone ad structure and for preventing atherosclerosis. So, this ability of chocolate during stress is important.

In this double-blind study, 30 healthy men drank a high-flavanol cocoa beverage 90 minutes before completing an eight-minute mental stress task. Drinking the chocolate led to less impairment of blood vessel function and to improved blood flow (flow-mediated dilation) during stress compared to a low-flavanol placebo chocolate drink.

This study suggests that dark chocolate can protect your cardiovascular health during times of stress. Now, that’s good news!

Nutrients 2021 Mar 27;13(4):1103

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For much more on the health benefits of chocolate, see our newest book, Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods.

For comprehensive help with stress and heart health, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.


The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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