In this health video you will learn the hidden health benefit of cocoa.
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Raena Morgan: Hi, I’m Raena Morgan with iHealthTube. We’re talking with Robert Kowalski today. He is the author of The Blood Pressure Cure. Robert Kowalski: [Some] people were studying a group of Indians, called the Kuna, who live on some islands off the coast of Panama in Central America. The ancestors of the Kuna were the Aztecs, the people who discovered cocoa. Back in the early days only the king was allowed to drink it because it was very special and he would sip it through a silver straw. And then it came down to the common man’s availability, and [became] available to the masses. The Kuna drink on average, 3 to 4 cups of cocoa a day, about the amount that we would say the average American drinks of coffee, except, they drink the cocoa. Well, here’s something interesting. In their entire lives, from the time they are kids ‘til the time that they die in their 60s or 70s or whenever, their blood pressure never goes up a whit—not one bit of elevation in blood pressure. Raena Morgan: As compared to the mainlanders? Robert Kowalski: Right. As soon as those Kuna might decide that they are going to leave their island and more primitive lifestyle because they want to buy a car, and they want this and that that they’ve heard about, and they move to the mainland, and forget about the cocoa, and start doing some of the other things of western lifestyle, blood pressure starts going up and they’re just as at risk. Actually, there’s a parallel—we all know about the value of fish and fish oil because of our studies with the Eskimo people who are similarly protected against heart disease because of their diet. And, we now know that eating fish and taking the Omega 3 fatty acids supplements will protect against heart disease. In the same way doctors said, “Hmmm, by drinking that cocoa all their lives they never had and increase in blood pressure. I wonder if we were able to take people with elevated blood pressure and give them cocoa, would that bring blood pressure down?” Well, it did! Here is one of the rubs though, the original research was actually sponsored by—no surprise—the people who make chocolate! They thought, “Here’s a real opportunity to market this.” Raena Morgan: Sure. Robert Kowalski: This is a 3.5 oz. bar of dark, dark chocolate, and the dark chocolate is what we’d want because that’s the richest in the cocoa. And, the cocoa is the source of the polyphenols that lower blood pressure. Raena Morgan: All right. Robert Kowalski: The test was done with 100 grams of chocolate which is 3.5 ounces— terrific—brought blood pressure down by 11 points. That’s the good news. The bad news is if you turn the package around and look at the label you’ll see 750 calories in this bar that people were eating everyday on this program—50 grams of fat of which 30 grams are saturated fat. So, this might not be the best way of getting that cocoa. Instead, what I recommend is having real honest-to-goodness cocoa. On a container like this it lists one ingredient and one ingredient alone, and that’s cocoa. Get the darkest, richest cocoa you can find. This is one of my favorites but there are a number on the market. Good old Hershey’s cocoa is going to be a good source of these polyphenols, and it’s the polyphenols that, again, lower blood pressure. Raena Morgan: That’s what’s in this Hershey’s cocoa? Robert Kowalski: Yep! Just plain cocoa, you read it on the label—ingredients—cocoa, as compared to some of these mixes. Absolutely the same way we don’t want to use these. These are the old fashioned hot chocolate mixes, really hot cocoa, but, the problem is added sugars, added fats, added preservatives, etc.; we don’t want those. What do we want? We want cocoa. So just buy the cocoa. Start off with a nice relaxing mug in the evening 30 or 40 minutes before bedtime. You just make that mug, you hold it in your hand—most people actually don’t even use the handle if you’ve noticed— they put their hand on it;