Go with the Flow and Eat Some Chocolate!

People with high blood-pressure or who may be carrying a bit of surplus body-fat (although almost everyone would like to lose a few pounds!) may be at risk of dangerous elevations in blood-pressure when exercising. A new study has revealed a less than obvious solution – chocolate! Dark chocolate and good cocoa supplements are rich in flavanols, which improve the ability of your blood-vessels to relax, and “go with the flow” – enhancing what is known as Flow-Mediated-Dilation. In twenty-one overweight volunteers (eight females and thirteen males, 542) with elevated blood-pressure Cocoa was seen to decrease blood-pressure resulting from exercise, compared to a placebo condition. The authors concluded that “cocoa flavanols may decrease cardiovascular risk and enhance the cardiovascular benefits of moderate intensity exercise in at-risk individuals”.

What can you do?

This isn’t an excuse to eat any-old chocolate. Confectionary is often high in trans-fats. You should be discerning about what products you buy and look for a high coca chocolate (75% cocoa, at least), or better yet a cocoa supplement without added sugar or fat you can add to your post-workout shakes. One protein powder pre-mixed with the finest quality cocoa is Kinetica’s Chocolate Whey Blend, available to purchase here: Kinetica’s Chocolate Whey Blend

Berry, N. M., K. Davison, et al. (2010). “Impact of cocoa flavanol consumption on blood pressure responsiveness to exercise.”
British Journal of Nutrition First View: 1-5.

About Matt Lovell

A sports nutritionist and brand ambassador for Kinetica Sports. Matt also runs his own elite performance based company called Perform and Function.

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