Health Team

Dark Chocolate Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Posted July 3, 2007

A new report suggests a special kind of chocolate may help bring blood pressure down.

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, eating about a quarter of an ounce of dark chocolate daily could help to lower your systolic blood pressure by almost three units and your diastolic blood pressure by almost two units.

"We were indeed surprised that such a low amount of chocolate could efficiently reduce the blood pressure," said Dirk Taubert, of University Hospital of Cologne.

Researchers at University Hospital of Cologne studied 44 otherwise, healthy people with high blood pressure for 18 weeks. Half of the people got daily dark chocolate. Half got daily white chocolate. No one gained weight, but researchers said only the dark chocolate eaters saw their blood pressure come down a bit.

"Our study provides sufficient evidence to recommend low amounts of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate as an addition to a healthy diet," Taubert said.

Polyphenols are chemicals found in plants, including cocoa. Health experts said one way to tell if you are eating polyphenols is by the bitter taste.

"I would try this piece of chocolate a day, definitely," said Jens Chemnitz, who has high blood pressure.

The researchers said polyphenols in dark chocolate seem to increase the production of nitric oxide in the body, which causes the blood vessels to widen. However, people with high blood pressure should not replace their medications with chocolate.

Health experts suggest consulting with your physician about the best way to improve your blood pressure levels.


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  • FlSunshine Jul 5, 2007

    It is the polyphenols that produce the anti-oxident, beneficial effects. How boring to suggest just taking supplements. With all bad news in the world and the negatives about diet, exercise, etc. we see in the news it is good to have something on the upside, light (deliberate choice of words), and positive.

  • FlSunshine Jul 5, 2007

    The University of California at Davis did a study regarding Chocolate several years ago. I knew God could not make something as good as chocolate and it be bad for you. You ever want really good chocolate try Angell and Phelps in Daytona. They make their own...milk and dark. They have a website. You can buy their standard assorment or they will mix it for you.

  • Mac Cool Jul 5, 2007

    Yelena, read the 2nd paragraph.

  • pinklady-1 Jul 5, 2007

    Break out the dark chocolate and red wine...yoo hoo!

  • justlisten Jul 5, 2007 "healthy" reason to eat dark chocolate!

  • purplerado Jul 4, 2007

    Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium - I'd say that is doing as much or more to lower the blood pressure than polyphenols - Just take magnesium supplements (and other antioxidants)! You don't have to eat sugar-laden chocolate. The researchers should have mentioned that in their report. Another example of silly science instead of common sense.

  • jgriffith3792 Jul 4, 2007

    Have to check with my doc to see if I can give up my HZT for some Hershey's dark. That would be sweet. Literally.

  • Just WhiskeyKel Jul 4, 2007

    I hope they find something healthy in milk chocolate.I don't like dark chocolate (too bitter for me).

  • gopanthers Jul 3, 2007

    Yelena - Exactly! good point. Finally some good news. I'm like Mikey though I can never eat just one. LOL

  • Yelena Jul 3, 2007

    *sigh* Alas, the one excuse I could ever even hope to dream about to indulge my love of dark chocolate.