Dark chocolate may help lower blood pressureBy Mark Vavoulis • Jul 1st, 2010 • Category: Blood Pressure, Heart Health, True Health News
Chocoholics looking for a good reason to indulge in some of their favorite candy can look no further than the journal BMC Medicine, as a study published in it reveals that eating dark chocolate can significantly reduce blood pressure for some people.
Researchers combined the results of 15 previous studies for their findings. They looked at the effects of flavanols, the compounds in chocolate that cause dilation of blood vessels, on blood pressure.
"Flavanols have been shown to increase the formation of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and consequently may lower blood pressure," said researcher Karin Ried, Ph.D. "There have, however, been conflicting results as to the real-life effects of eating chocolate. We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure."
Researchers say the pressure reduction seen in the combined results for people with hypertension is comparable to the known effects of 30 daily minutes of physical activity and could theoretically reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event by about 20 percent over five years.