Keep your heart healthy with flavonol-rich green tea, black tea and cocoa. Flavonols may offer protection to people with heart disease.
Flavonols, a chemical found most abundantly in black tea, green tea, red wine and dark chocolate, may offer health benefits to heart disease patients by reducing blood pressure and improving blood vessel health. In a study at the University of California, San Francisco, researchers found that a diet high in flavonols doubled the circulation of angiogenic cells in the blood. These cells help maintain and repair the interior lining of our arteries, protecting them against damage and atherosclerosis. For the study, researchers gave volunteers a daily cocoa drink with 375 mg of flavonols. Flavonol content in tea, wine and chocolate vary greatly, depending on its growing conditions and manufacturing process. A cup of green tea contains anywhere from 56 to 511 mg of flavonols. Three and a half ounces (100 grams) of dark chocolate has about 43 to 63 mg. To get flavonols from chocolate without the fat, add a scoop of nonalkalized cocoa powder to your coffee or smoothie. Cocoa powder has more of the heart-healthy flavonols than chocolate bars do.