Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wham: Hot Cocoa Lowers Blood Pressure

A recent meta-analysis of clinical studies was done for the Archives of Internal Medicine, which focused on non-coffee hot beverages and their effect on blood pressure. It had quite interesting results, especially for anyone who has been looking for a hot beverage in the AM to replace coffee, due to concerns about the negative effects of caffeine on blood pressure.

Dr. Dirk Taubert (MD, PhD) and his colleagues at University Hospital in Cologne, Germany, conducted a meta-analysis of ten previously published clinical trials, five on tea consumption and five on cocoa consumption.

The winner? Cocoa won, by as much reduction as many people get from their blood pressure medications. Given that drinking hot cocoa is a delightful experience, and not something akin to swallowing more pills, I'd suggest that anyone with this concern about blood pressure go immediately to the health food store and buy a strong, made-in-Europe variety of cocoa (and not the Hershey's or Nestle's brands which are all sugar).

In these trials, blood pressure dropped an average of 4.7 points for systolic and 2.8 for diastolic for the cocoa drinker. The tea drinkers saw no positive effects as far as blood pressure goes. An excellent article from BBC news is linked to the headline of today's post, and it describes a number of other health benefits from your morning cup of hot cocoa.


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