Wednesday, April 25, 2007
One of the potential culprits is omega-6 fatty acids. Our ancestors ate omega-6 and omega-3 FA's in about a 3:1 ratio, but when food manufacturers found that omega-6's were more cost-effective in the early 20th century, Westerners' diets exploded with the stuff - we now get 15-17 times as much omega-6 as omega-3! Why is this bad? Well, it appears that higher omega-6 levels (maybe relative to omega-3 and maybe not) are linked to depression and inflammatory conditions (which can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.). D'oh!
On the upside, another study has found that eating small amounts (about 3.5 oz.) of dark chocolate a day has similar blood-pressure lowering effects to beta-blockers like atenolol. This effect doesn't go for milk chocolate, as milk blocks absorption of the polyphenols responsible. A guaranteed cure? No. An excuse to eat chocolate? Of course!