Published On: Wed, May 16th, 2018

High blood pressure symptoms: Hypertension with dark chocolate in diet | Health | Life & Style

High blood pressure affects about a quarter of all adults in the UK, according to the NHS.

Patients have a higher risk of life-threatening conditions, including heart disease and strokes.

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers; a systolic and a diastolic pressure.

Systolic blood pressure is the force at which the heart pumps blood around the body. Diastolic blood pressure is the resistance to blood flow in your blood vessels.

You can lower your risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, by eating more dark chocolate, a nutritionist has claimed.

Dark chocolate and cocoa powder could help to lower your blood pressure as they’re both rich in antioxidants, said nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer.

The antioxidant, flavanol polyphenols, can dilate blood vessels and protect against heart disease and strokes, she said.

It also contributes to your overall cardiovascular health, and the elasticity of arteries.

Everyone should aim to eat between 300mg and 600mg of cocoa flavanols a day.

That’s the equivalent to about one small 40g bar of dark chocolate.

“Cocoa is a delicious natural remedy for high blood pressure,” said Brewer, on her website

“Cocoa powder is also a good source of blood-pressure lowering minerals, including calcium and magnesium.

“The Kuna islanders, who live off the coast of Panama, consume large quantities of cocoa and do not develop the same age-related increase in blood pressure that occurs elsewhere.

“When they migrate to Panama City, and no longer follow the same cocoa enriched diet, their blood pressure goes up.

“Cocoa flavanols act like l-arginine, and beet juice, to increase the availability of nitric oxide in blood vessel linings. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and makes them more elastic, so blood pressure falls.”

All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years, the NHS said.

You can check your blood pressure at your local GP surgery, at some pharmacies, or in some workplaces.

You could be at risk if you have any high blood pressure symptoms, which includes headaches, chest pain and vision problems.

Those most at risk are people over 65 years old, are overweight, or are of African or Caribbean descent.

Eating a healthy diet, and taking plenty of exercise could help to lower your blood pressure.

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