Congestive heart failure is one of the most serious and dangerous conditions you can develop. It occurs after years of struggling with high blood pressure and/or cardiovascular disease. Eventually, the heart stops pumping effectively and blood backs up throughout the lungs and body (causing congestion). As a result, more than half of the people diagnosed with it die within five years.
The good news is, research suggests that enjoying a nightly piece of chocolate can help improve blood flow within two hours among people diagnosed with congestive heart failure!
I’ll tell you all about that exciting study in a moment. But first, let’s talk a bit more about chocolate…
The origins of chocolate
Chocolate actually originated from the small beans that grow on tropical cacao trees in Central and South America. The Ancient Aztecs used to roast the cacao beans, pound them into a powder, and then add water to make a beverage called, “xocolatl.” They often added seasonings to it, like honey or cayenne pepper, to mask the beans’ naturally bitter taste.
When the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico in the early 1500s, he discovered the tasty Aztec drink and brought it back home. Then, in the mid-1700s, the Dutch began to extract the fat from cacao beans—creating cocoa butter. Over time, this simple process opened up the door for all kinds of sweet confections that combined cocoa butter, powdered chocolate, and sugar.
Of course, I always encourage you to enjoy dark chocolate—which contains far less sugar that milk chocolate. Plus, it contains far more healthy flavanols—the phytochemicals in cacao beans that support healthy circulation. And that important point brings me back to the research I mentioned at the beginning of this Dispatch…
Eating chocolate improves circulation within just two hours!
For this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, researchers followed 20 patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure and randomly sorted them into two groups. They gave the first group commercially available, flavanol-rich chocolate bars. The other group received regular (milk) chocolate bars.
The participants enjoyed the chocolate bars every day for four weeks.
It turns out, the participants who ate the regular chocolate bars experienced no improvements at all in their congestive heart failure symptoms.
However, those who ate the flavanol-rich chocolate bars experienced “significantly improved” blood vessel function. Plus, they experienced this improvement within just two hours of enjoying the nightly treat!
They also showed other improvements at the end of four weeks, such as a marked decrease in “platelet adhesion.” Which means their blood was less likely to form into dangerous clots that cause heart attacks.
The researchers concluded that “flavanol-rich chocolate acutely improves vascular function in patients” with congestive heart failure.
Well, would you look at that? A healthy, natural way to help protect your heart!
And now, just think of all the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs prescribed to patients “at risk” for developing heart disease. They’re supposed to prevent deadly outcomes like congestive heart failure or heart attack…
But as the study authors pointed out, “statins are ineffective in chronic heart failure…[and] alternative therapies are a critical need.” Clearly, chocolate is a safe, natural, readily available, enjoyable, and effective “alternative therapy.” Plus, it goes to work within hours to improve circulation and prevent heart failure!
Not to mention, the men and women who ate the flavanol-rich chocolate bars did not experience spikes in blood sugar levels during the course of the study. However, the patients who ate regular chocolate did have decreased insulin sensitivity.
So, go ahead and indulge in some chocolate—not just now during the holiday season, but year-round. Just make sure to opt for dark chocolate that contains at least 75 or 80 percent cacao. You’ll get more heart-healthy flavanols…and far less sugar.
Of course, you can learn about the many safe, effective, natural approaches to protecting your heart, without the use of ineffective and dangerous drugs, in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more about this comprehensive online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Cardiovascular effects of flavanol-rich chocolate in patients with heart failure,” Eur Heart J 2012 Sep;33(17): 2,172-2,180 . doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehr448.