—A Special Report from Victor Marchione, MD
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see doctors prescribe a dose of dark chocolate? Well, after brand new research, this doesn’t seem as unlikely as you might think it is — for patients who suffer liver cirrhosis and have dangerously high blood pressure in their abdomen.
Researchers presented their interesting findings at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Liver in Vienna.
According to the study, eating dark chocolate could reduce damage to the blood vessels of those with liver disease. It could also help blood pressure in the liver, further aiding that crucial organ. Dark chocolate has incredibly high levels of antioxidants that act in a way that reduces blood pressure in the liver after eating meals. This is associated with damaged liver blood vessels.
They found that eating dark chocolate may have far more beneficial effects throughout the entire body. This further cements dark chocolate’s status as a kind of “superfood.” The researchers found that white chocolate, which contains no healthful “phytochemicals,” had no such beneficial effects.
What this does is show a clear link between consuming dark chocolate and reducing the impact of high blood pressure on a diseased liver. It could help patients with cirrhosis manage their disease and help deliver a better quality of life to those who suffer this serious ailment.
Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver as a result of long-term, continuous damage to the liver. In cirrhosis, circulation in the liver is damaged by oxidative stress and reduced antioxidant systems. After eating, blood pressure in the abdominal veins usually increases due to increased blood flow to the liver.
This is particularly dangerous and damaging to cirrhotic patients, as they already have increased blood pressure in the liver that can lead to blood vessel rupture. Thus, eating dark chocolate could prevent this potential threat to cirrhotic patients.
In this study, 21 cirrhotic patients with end-stage liver disease received a liquid meal containing either dark chocolate (containing 85% cocoa) or white chocolate (without cocoa). Both meals caused a highly significant but similar increase in liver blood flow, but the white chocolate patients had a 10% worse condition post-meal. All signs were far more positive in patients eating dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is very high in fat, as is all chocolate, so about a square a day is all you need to boost your body full of what is slowly becoming a real health food: cocoa.