If you’re looking for ways to promote strong heart health, it can be tough to know where to start. Your friends and family all have their own unique health considerations, which can leave you feeling uncertain about what actions to take to keep your heart healthy and strong.
In this blog post, we’re outlining a few ways cacao benefits heart health, as well as additional ways you can support overall heart health.
Heart health cacao benefits
You may remember the days where chocolate was considered an unhealthy treat, sometimes enjoyed during a night out or evening at the movie theater. However, according to Harvard Medical School, several studies give cacao and dark chocolate high marks for cardiovascular benefits, which includes improvements in cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood clotting, and coronary artery function.
To reap the rewards of eating or drinking cacao, you need to find it first, and that’s where Crio Bru Brewed Cacao comes in. If you’re completely new to the world of cacao, we’d recommend trying our Sampler Starter Kit, which includes 5 flavor varieties, instructions on how to brew, plus the option to add in a dairy-free creamer.
Where does this leave you as someone looking to promote heart health through cacao? Here are the findings:
Helps lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It contributes to about 50 percent of cardiovascular events worldwide and 37 percent of cardiovascular-related deaths in Western populations. Fortunately, there are studies that suggest cacao-rich products can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cacao is packed with flavonoids, which is a group of plant metabolites thought to provide health benefits, like antioxidant effects. These nutrients have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and aid in preventing blood clots.
Potassium reduces heart disease risk
When you think of high potassium foods, your first thought may be of bananas, which is why you may be surprised that cacao contains high levels of potassium, too! Potassium has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease by reducing lower body inflammation and stress on cells. So for those looking to promote strong heart health, a potassium-rich diet is a must.
Cacao contains one of the highest levels of potassium possible while being low in sodium. In one serving, cacao can contain 500 mg of potassium, while containing only 5 mg of sodium.
Reduces levels of inflammation and anxiety
The flavonoids in cacao powder can help to reduce inflammation throughout your body, which is another way cacao benefits heart health. Reduced inflammation may lessen your risk of some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease as well.
In addition, the flavanols in cacao also work to thin your blood and relax blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Plus, cacao contains compounds that can increase your levels of serotonin and endorphins, which boost mood. In fact, studies have shown that cacao may actually be used to treat anxiety.
More ways to promote good heart health
Now that you know how helpful cacao is to promoting heart health, you may be wondering what else you can do to maintain a healthy heart.
Regularly drinking a Crio Bru Brewed CacaoCrio Bru cacao beverage is an excellent way to promote heart health, and below are a few actions you can take to supplement this awesome habit.
Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland or boring … in fact, it can be easy and fun! When it comes to eating well to promote heart health, it’s important to control portion sizes and create meal plans to avoid unhealthy foods. However, keep in mind that it’s okay to have the occasional treat! And don’t forget that a treat can be heart-healthy and taste great, such as cacao.
Eating fruits and vegetables, limiting unhealthy fats, selecting lean protein sources, and reducing salt all supports a heart healthy diet.
While most forms of exercise are great for your body, certain types of movement are even better when it comes to heart health. Fitting in just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 times per week is recommended, and types of aerobic exercise include running, walking, swimming, or cycling. Supplement aerobic exercise with resistance training to round out a solid exercise routine. Strength work can be done using free weights, resistance bands, or body-weight exercises like push ups.
Stretching and flexibility is also important to maintain, especially as we age. While stretching doesn’t directly impact heart health, it helps your body stay limber and able to support regular aerobic and strength training. YouTube has many free videos you can follow at home, and local gyms often offer classes suitable for any ability level.
We’re constantly hustling from one activity to the next. Between obligations to our family, job, and friends, we sometimes struggle to take a moment to ourselves to just breathe and relax. When it comes to heart health, managing stress is important! The stress response includes physical components such an elevated heart rate and blood pressure, so regular high stress causes strain to the heart.
Creating small habits that minimize stress into your routine is one way to manage it. Starting your morning with exercise and a soothing beverage, like cacao, are healthy ways to keep stress at bay. You can also incorporate meditation into your routine. For those who are skeptical if meditation is really worth the hype, give a free guided meditation a try! You can do a meditation in as little as 5 minutes, and YouTube also offers hundreds of free guided meditation videos to try at no cost.
Did you know that according to the CDC, more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking? Smoking has been found to cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
When it comes to heart health, smoking is one of the most damaging habits. But it can feel daunting to quit smoking cold turkey, especially if you’ve been smoking your whole life. Mayo Clinic shares a few great tips for those looking to quit smoking, such as avoiding triggers, chewing gum, getting physical activity in, and finding an accountability partner.
While starting or maintaining heart-healthy habits can feel difficult, it doesn’t have to be! Incorporating cacao into your daily routine is an excellent way to support heart health by lowering blood pressure, incorporating potassium into your diet, and reducing inflammation. Couple your cacao regimen with healthy foods, regular exercise, and a low stress lifestyle and voila! A solid, heart-healthy routine.
For more information on cacao benefits, visit our FAQ page.