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Don’t have a heart attack, relax with a cup of cocoa

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Don’t have a heart attack, relax with a cup of cocoa

Stressed? Then don’t give yourself a heart attack—instead, top up with flavanols, found in fruit, vegetables and even the odd cup of cocoa.

The flavanols can protect you from stress-induced heart disease, stroke and thrombosis. They help keep blood vessels functioning properly when you’re losing your mental cool.

It’s already recognised that mental stress affects the blood vessels—and now researchers have discovered that a cup of flavanol-rich cocoa protects them during stressful times.

Researchers at Birmingham University put a group of men through a gruelling mental exercise, half of whom had a cup of cocoa 90 minutes beforehand. The cocoa-drinkers had better blood flow and blood vessel function than those who didn’t have the drink.

But if cocoa isn’t your cuppa, you can get your flavanols from apples, black grapes, blackberries, raspberries, pulses—and even green tea.

And it’s important you do, the researchers say. Even a single episode of mental stress can increase your risk of a heart attack, and it certainly raises your heart rate and blood pressure level.

(Source: Nutrients, 2021; 13: 1103; doi: 10.3390/nu13041103)

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Article Topics: artery, blood, Blood vessel, heart, vein
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