Migraine Quiz

Cocoa and chocolate - The sequel

Cocoa and Blood Pressure?

Ten blood pressure studies were compared; five of tea intake and five of cocoa intake. In the cocoa studies, 64% of the subjects were men and 36% women; 34% of all subjects had high blood pressure. In the tea studies, 71% were men, 29% were women, and 49% had high blood pressure. (Four studies used black tea, and one used green tea.) None of the tea studies reported any significant alterations in blood pressure. In the cocoa studies, four of five reported a reduction of both systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure after cocoa consumption. The study reporting no change utilized the lowest dose of cocoa. Blood pressure was most likely to be reduced in young individuals with mild essential hypertension.

The authors concluded that "the magnitude of the hypotensive effects of cocoa is clinically noteworthy; it is in the range that is usually achieved with monotherapy of beta-blockers or angiotensin- converting enzyme inhibitors." They also emphasized the importance of dark chocolate, noting that milk products inhibit the absorption of the polyphenols.

Cocoa for Migraine

A study presented at this year's International Headache Congress provided evidence that a cocoa-enriched diet (in rats) suppressed proteins associated with inflammation in the trigeminal ganglia. This suggested that a cocoa-enriched diet in migraine sufferers might help to suppress migraine headaches. Obviously, more research will be necessary.

Volunteers? I know it's time for my next dose of chocolate.