You are here

Dark chocolate reduces blood pressure

4th July 2007

A new study has found that eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day reduces blood pressure.

Previous studies have suggested that eating food rich in cocoa can lower blood pressure, which has been put down to the polyphenols found in cocoa.

But this has negative effects due to the sugar and fat content.

Dark chocolate, however, avoids these risks, at the same time as delivering the positive effects associated with cocoa.

Researchers ran trials giving participants 6.3g or 30 calories of dark chocolate each day.

Over 18 weeks of consuming this amount, average systolic blood pressure was reduced by 2.9 mm of mercury and the average diastolic blood pressure went down by 1.9 mm.

The proportion of participants with hypertension who ate dark chocolate went down from 86 to 68 per cent.

The researchers concluded that: "Data in this relatively small sample of otherwise healthy individuals with above-optimal blood pressure indicate that inclusion of small amounts of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate as part of a usual diet efficiently reduced blood pressure and improved the formation of vasodilative nitric oxide."