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Dark chocolate may reduce blood pressure: Study

Press Tv, 17 August 2012

A recent study finds that eating dark chocolate or cocoa powder each day can reduce blood
pressure in the short term and help protect against cardiovascular disease.

A review of research, issued in the Cochrane Library, revealed that people who eat dark
chocolate may experience slight reduction in their blood pressure.

The Cochrane Group researchers assessed 20 different studies that lasted between two to
eight weeks and included 865 people eating between 30-1080 milligrams of flavanols found
in 3 to 100 grams of chocolate.
The researchers then found that eating flavanol-containing chocolate or cocoa powder
resulted in a 2 to 3 mmHg (millimetres of mercury) reduction in blood pressure, meaning that
a blood pressure of 120/80 decreased to 118/78.

The study said that flavanols produce a chemical in the body known as nitric oxide, which
relaxes blood vessels and decreases the blood pressure.

"Although we don't yet have evidence for any sustained decrease in blood pressure, the small
reduction we saw over the short term might complement other treatment options and might
contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, study author Dr Karin Ried said.

"Moderate regular dosages of flavanol-rich cocoa products such as dark chocolate may be
part of a comprehensive lifestyle plan to optimizing blood pressure," Ried added.

High blood pressure is linked to 54 percent of strokes across the world and 47 percent of
coronary heart disease cases. However, the researchers also stressed that chocolate cannot
replace blood pressure medicines and even suggested using healthier ways to reduce blood


Dark chocolate heart healthy

The daily consumption of 100 grams of chocolate with a 70 percent or higher cocoa content every day could
help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

Press TV, 1 June 2012
A recent study has suggested that daily consumption of dark chocolate could prevent heart
attack and stroke in high-risk patients with metabolic syndrome.

By using mathematical models, researchers in Australia examined the long-term health
effects of daily dark chocolate intake on more than 2,000 people at high risk of heart disease.

The results showed that the daily consumption of 100 grams of chocolate with a 70 percent or
higher cocoa content every day could help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

Researchers also found that consuming dark chocolate could avert 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal
per 10,000 people treated over 10 years.

"We've predicted significant health benefits of eating 100 grams of dark chocolate every day
over a 10-year period," said lead researcher Ella Zomer.

"Our findings indicate dark chocolate therapy could provide an alternative to or be used to
complement drug therapeutics in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease," Zomer added.

The authors, however, have stressed that they assessed only non-fatal stroke and non-fatal
heart attack in their study and the potential effects on other cardiovascular events, such as
heart failure, are yet to be examined.

Scientists have warned that excessive consumption of dark chocolate could be harmful as it
could lead to obesity which is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), accounting for 30 percent of all global
deaths, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.

The study has been published in the British Medical Journal.