Responsible for an average of 200 deaths per day, Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is arguably the UK’s biggest killer. Approximately one in six men and one in nine women currently die from the disease and, according to the NHS, there are some 2.7 million people living with the condition and a further 2 million people affected by angina (the most common symptom of CHD). To help prevent the onset of Coronary Heart Disease, the NHS recommend that you make yourself aware of the dangers associated with smoking, drinking, stress and high blood pressure, and that you take plenty of regular exercise and enjoy a healthy, balanced diet. There is also a delicious, nutrient dense superfood that can help to improve circulation, reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure naturally and thus actively decrease your chance of developing CHD – raw cacao nibs.
What is Coronary Heart Disease?
Coronary Heart disease can occur when the blood supply to your heart is restricted by the build-up of fatty deposits (made from cholesterol and other waste products) inside the walls of your coronary arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis or more commonly a ‘hardening of the arteries’. Left untreated atherosclerosis may lead to angina, which is characterised by a dull, heavy or tight pain in the chest that can sometimes spread to the left arm, neck, jaw or back. Although only 1 in every 100 of those with stable angina will go on to have a fatal heart attack or stroke, as many as 1 in 40 may experience a non-fatal heart attack or stroke, both of which have a considerable impact on their quality of life.
How can I reduce the chances of developing CHD?
As already mentioned, changing your diet and other lifestyle factors will help lower your risk of developing CHD. And incorporating superfoods such as delicious raw cacao nibs can help in three very important ways:
1) Raw cacao nibs for improved circulation
Raw cacao nibs are a valuable source of flavonoids – powerful antioxidants that play a key role in circulation. Flavonoids not only help to avoid furred arteries by preventing fatty acids from oxidising in our blood stream, they also make our blood platelets less ‘sticky’, which effectively reduces our likelihood of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.
2) Raw Cacao nibs for reduced cholesterol levels
Raw cacao nibs are high in healthy monounsaturated fats – ‘good’ fats that have been proven to raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels. They also contain a large amount of polyphenols, which help to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels (LDL). Cholesterol is a fat made by the liver from the saturated fat that we eat. It is essential for healthy cells, but if there is too much of it in our blood, it can lead to Coronary Heart Disease.
3) Raw Cacao nibs for low blood pressure
A recent study in ‘Food and Function’ suggests that both the fibre and polyphenols found in raw cacao products work together to control blood pressure. In addition, consuming 350-500 mg of magnesium per day helps lower blood pressure considerably. Indeed, scientific research published in the British Medical Journal revealed that patients undergoing long term diuretic treatment for arterial hypertension or congestive heart failure, who received a daily magnesium supplement for six months, saw a notable decrease in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Raw cacao is the richest dietary source of magnesium on the planet and raw cacao nibs contain an average of 420 mg of magnesium per 100 grams, which is 37 times more than an ounce of broccoli and 17.5 times as much as an average sized banana.
How can I enjoy raw cacao nibs for a healthy heart?
Clinical studies published in both the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” and the “Journal of Internal Medicine” indicate that eating cacao products (such as raw cacao nibs) several times a day may decrease your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Raw cacao nibs boast the intense flavour and rich aroma of raw cacao. They can be devoured straight from the bag or combined with nuts, goji berries, camu camu berries and other dried super fruits for a wholesome snack between meals. They also make an ideal topping for smoothies and desserts topping and are the perfect ingredient in a tempting range of raw chocolate bars and cakes.