Dark chocolate (who picked the substance to test for this experiment?) increases the elasticity of your small veins and arteries–which could help keep your blood pressure in line and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, says this Reuters report from the American Journal of Hypertension.
What’s that got to do with nitric oxide (NO–one of my favorite topics)? Apparently the abundance of flavonoids (recently getting more recognition as a valuable nutrient), among other things, helps that miraculous NO be more readily available for the body to use in all its many applications.
Speaking of flavonoids, I used to get depressed because I ADORE crisply cooked fresh green beans and I couldn’t figure out whether they were good for you because everywhere I read, it said they contained nary a vitamin worth discussing. Now I’ve discovered they’re full of flavonoids–thank God, now I can eat ‘em and feel virtuous about my health at the same time.
And oh, listen to this: “Researchers found the active ingredient in Viagra, also known as sildenafil, helped children with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) walk farther and breathe easier when taken over the course of a year.” PAH is usually fatal within a year of diagnosis–a worthy disease to look at alternative treatments for. Current approach includes administering inhaled NO (iNO) to relax lung tissue. Sildenafil works kind of like flavonoids–one effect is to increase the availability of NO. Here’s a good, easy-to-read discussion about flavonoids and other nutrients that do good things for us but don’t trigger deficiency symptoms because they’re not know to be essential.