Congratulations! Chocolate is Good For You!

Got heart disease? High blood pressure? You’re going to love this one...

A young girl with dark brown skin and black hair walks along the beach on an island off the coast of panama. Her people have lived and worked on these islands for hundreds of years. And since she's as a member of the Kuna Indian tribe, there are more than a few things that this young girl will never experience, like high blood pressure or heart disease.

As a matter of fact, if researchers at Harvard are correct, almost no one in her tribe will either. When Harvard went down to Kuna to find out why they were apparently immune to heart disease, they were looking for a protective gene that the Kuna had that kept their blood pressure low. Turns out it was just chocolate.

That's right. Chocolate.

It couldn’t be the genes, they determined, because when Kuna indians leave the tribe and live on the mainland of Panama, cardiovascular disease becomes the number one cause of death, as it is for all Panamanians.

A healthy blood pressure is 120/80. 120 is the systolic, and 80 is the diastolic. The following chart shows the blood pressure readings for hypertension.

Systolic Diastolic Normal 90-119 60-79 Pre-Hypertension 120-139 80-89 Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 90-99 Stage 2 Hypertension >160 >100

As most Americans age, there is an increasing hardening of the arteries as a result of dietary, lifestyle and genetic factors including smoking, poor diet, inactive lifestyle, being overweight and many more. The combination of these factors leads to hypertension, which the CDC reports is present in one out of every three American Adults (68 million people).

The Kuna Indians, on the other hand, have an average blood pressure of 110/70, whether they are 18 or 65 years old.

Although the Kuna have an active lifestyle and a healthy diet consisting of coconut, fish, plantains, wild game and other fruits, researchers determined that their high intake of flavonol rich cocoa is responsible for their low blood pressure. The flavonoids increase the amount of nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator meaning that it relaxes the arteries allowing flood to flow less restricted. This, in turn, lowers blood flow. Incidentally, this is similar to how viagra works and I would suspect that the Kuna have a very low incidence of erectile dysfunction.

Unfortunately, the Kuna aren't going to the office vending machine and buying a Nestle's Crunch. They grow and minimally process their own cocoa, and drink up to five cups per day and even add it to their food.

Highly-processed chocolate and chocolate processed at high heat, like most of the chocolate Americans consume will have already lost the majority of the benefit-containing flavonoids. Low heat, minimally processed dark chocolate with low sugar will reap the most rewards but it will also be more bitter. These healthier, blood pressure lowering flavonol rich chocolates will only be found in higher-end health food stores and should indicate that high temperature heat was not used in the processing.

As with every other beneficial nutrient, we must combine it with a healthy active lifestyle and a healthy diet just like the Kuna Indians do. Once we do this, adding high quality chocolate to our diets could have a significant impact on cardiovascular disease, twhich is the number one killer of Americans.

(This column is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.) 

k August 21, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Excellent article as usual. As most people enjoy chocolate, seems like a no-brainer. Since I started working with you, I feel so much healthier. I see the physical changes, i.e. drop in blood pressure, weight loss, reduction in pain, etc. The lifestyle changes you recommended are not easy but your treatment and listening skills with your patience and caring is what has encouraged me. I know you genuinely support me in this journey to recovery. As you know, I tried many other treatments, with invasive procedures and medication, none of them worked. This is the first time I see results, It is not only me, others having seen my results have come to you. They've have had similar experiences. It is a pleasure for us to compare notes and support each other. Thank you, I look forward to continue working with you. Best wishes, kumi
Sandy Jones August 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Xocai Healthy Chocolate (just trademarked) uses cold pressed cacao beans, a special blend called XoVita, no caffeine, dairy or gluten. Sugar is slow release natural sugar cane crystals, with no preservatives. Calories are minimal - from 34 to 70 in the chocolate pieces. There is also a weightless system with shakes and a meal replacement bar. And if you like high antioxidant and flavonoid rich products, anti-aging products are also available.
dmccalla August 22, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Unfortunately, the commercial chocolate you find in the stores carries very little of the heart healthy flavanols, no matter what the cacao content is. The alkalizing and heating processes destroy most of the fragile antioxidants, the same as overcooking your vegetables. There is a company that utilizes a patented cold-press process that keeps all of the antioxidants intact. I have 5 to 6 servings of this healthy chocolate every day, and have for 5 years now. As a result, I no longer take pain pills for the arthritis in my hips, have perfect blood pressure, have been able to raise my HDL without raising my LDL cholesterol and I have lost 10 pounds. There is a great article on the difference between "good" chocolate and "bad" chocolate at cocoa101.com.
Chris Ogilvie, Naturopath August 22, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Thank you!!
xiaolinzi December 26, 2012 at 07:38 AM
http://www.coachoutletonlinebfd.com/ Coach Outlet Online http://www.guccibeltstb.com/ Gucci Belt http://www.coachoutletonlineyds.net/ Coach Outlet Store Online http://www.coachoutletonlinetsy.net/ Coach Online Outlet


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something