If you have high cholesterol and want to find a way to naturally reduce your cholesterol levels, a study has found a great food source to help achieve your goals. Anyone who loves chocolate will love to hear that this new cholesterol lowering food is cocoa.
It has been known for a while that cocoa can add benefits to your heart health. Cocoa is loaded with polyphenols and flavanols which are associated with a decrease in blood pressure. Researchers now believe that consuming cocoa can increased good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce bad cholesterol (LDL).
In a recent study, volunteers were fed cocoa powder in skim milk for four weeks. After the four weeks it was found that HDL cholesterol increased by 5% while LDL cholesterol was reduced by 14%. This is in comparison to a control group that drank milk without cocoa powder only.
While other cocoa health benefits have been observed in the past, such lower blood pressure and improved brain functions, this is the first observation that it can have positive effects on cholesterol levels. While the researchers involved with this study have not fully explored why cocoa has these effects, the results are strong enough to warrant adding cocoa to any cholesterol lowering foods list.
What is the best way to gain these cocoa benefits for yourself?
From the results of the study (Science Direct), it appears that consumption of any products made with cocoa can work. However, to best simulate the study diet you should use raw cocoa powder and dissolve it in skim milk. Since this should be a regular drink for you if you want to lower bad cholesterol you do not want to counteract the benefits by consuming a lot of sugar. Therefore, unsweetened cocoa powder is best.
To make your drink, spoon two tablespoons of cocoa powder into the bottom of an empty saucepan. Add some skim milk o that it creates a paste with the powder. Heat this mixture on your stove’s low setting while constantly stirring. Once all of the powder has dissolved (no lumps), pour it into a glass of skim milk while stirring. This can be done using a microwave. Simply replace the pan with a mug and heat the milk and powder in the mug for 15 second intervals, stirring between each interval. You should be able to dissolve the powder in the milk within 2-3 15 second cycles.