Time to break out the chocolate!
A new study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology has brought forward a particularly interesting discovery. Ingrid Persson and her team of researchers have confirmed that eating dark chocolate lowers levels of ACE, an enzyme associated with balance of bodily fluids and blood pressure regulation. Previous research has demonstrated the effects of ACE on the heart; it is reported to increase blood pressure, and consequently, the risk of heart disease.
This study was conducted involving healthy adults in the 20-45 age range who had their ACE levels measured. They were given 75 grams of unsweetened 72% dark chocolate, and had their blood ACE levels measured at the time intervals of half an hour, an hour, and three hours after the chocolate was consumed. The researchers found that average ACE levels decreased by an average of 18% among the participants three hours after consuming the chocolate.
Persson is no stranger to discovering the healthy effects of foods and beverages: “We have [also] previously shown that green tea inhibits the ACE enzyme, which is involved in the body’s fluid balance and blood pressure regulation. Our findings indicate that changes in lifestyle with the help of foods that contain large concentrations of catechins and procyaninides prevent cardiovascular diseases.”
Since green tea also inhibits ACE, further solidifying the popular conviction that it is the ‘Superman’ of healthy beverages, it looks like all one needs to stay healthy is a nice cup of green tea, some chocolate, and a nice cozy fire to stay warm and healthy during the holiday season.
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish) (2010, November 12). Why chocolate protects against heart disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 13, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/11/101110141247.htm
Effects of Cocoa Extract and Dark Chocolate on Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme and Nitric Oxide in Human Endothelial Cells and Healthy Volunteers. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. Retrieved Novermber 13, 2010, from http://journals.lww.com/cardiovascularpharm/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=9000&issue=00000&article=99606&type=abstract