Dark Chocolate May Lower Blood Pressure

People love to eat chocolate that it sometimes become a habitual indulgence. It can sometimes be too delicious that many people think it might not be that good on one’s health. But it seems that eating chocolate may also have its good benefits as well. Eating dark chocolate may help lower one’s blood pressure.

According to a systematic review made by The Cochrane Library, the researchers analyzed short-term trials where the participants were given dark chocolate or cocoa powder daily. The evidence indicates that the blood pressure of the chocolate eating group dropped slightly as compared to a control group.

It is known that cocoa contains compounds such as flavonols. This compound is thought to be responsible for the formation of nitric oxide in the body, which causes the blood vessel walls in the body to relax and open wider, resulting in reducing blood pressure. The discovery of the link between cocoa and blood pressure originated from studies involving the indigenous people of San Blas Island in Central America. The people are known to drink flavonol-rich cocoa drinks daily. They are also discovered to have normal blood pressure regardless of their age.

While flavonols are found rich in cocoa and chocolate products, they may vary as different types of processing procedures and types of chocolate may change the flavonol concentrations. That is why it is not easy to establish the amount of the said compound needed in order to provide the beneficial effect. In order to further investigate on the effects of flavonols on blood pressure, researchers looked into trial data where participants were made to consume dark chocolate or cocoa powder that contained around 30-1080mg of flavonols in 3 to 100 grams of chocolate daily. The3 trail involved 856 people in around 20 trials that lasted from two to eight weeks to one that lasted for as long as 18 weeks. The researchers found out that Flavonol-rich chocolate or cocoa powder reduced the blood pressure from 2-3mm Hg.

When the results were compared to controls that did not take the flavonol rich products, the difference were more pronounced. But there was no distinct significance when both low dosage and high dosage flavonol groups were compared. This might mean that consuming low-flavonol products may also have some effect on blood pressure. But certain factors behind such trials such as trial duration, blinding of participants and others may not provide a conclusive insight into the matter. Further studies might be needed in order determine the good and possible bad effects of consuming flavonols and chocolates.

Source: Science Daily
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