Combining theanine with dark chocolate may improve focus, lower BP

A Northern Arizona University (NAU) study has found that when L-theanine is added to dark chocolate, the combination may help you overcome your afternoon slump and support healthy blood pressure. These results add more confirmation to a large body of existing research demonstrating L-theanine’s ability to improve focus while promoting relaxation.

Hershey sponsored this study, which was published in the journal, NeuroRegulation. The researchers looked at the brain wave activity of 122 participants between ages 18 and 25 years old. Those who consumed 60 percent cacao were more alert but their blood pressure increased.

But in their news release, researchers say the results got interesting when 60 percent cacao chocolate included L-theanine. The participants who consumed that combination experienced an immediate drop in blood pressure.

“L-theanine is a really fascinating product that lowers blood pressure and produces what we call alpha waves in the brain that are very calm and peaceful,” said NAU Psychological Sciences Professor Larry Stevens, in the release. “The potential here is for a heart healthy chocolate confection that contains a high level of cacao with L-theanine that is good for your heart, lowers blood pressure and helps you pay attention.”

Until there is such a product on the market in the U.S., you may enjoy similar benefits by taking Suntheanine with a cup of dark chocolate cocoa. Or, sip some Just Chill relaxation drink as you nosh on a square of heart-healthy dark chocolate.

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