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Aug 20, 2010

Dark Chocolate Associated with Lowered Blood Pressure

Small amounts of dark chocolate can modestly lower blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension, a study published in JAMA concludes.

The study, took 44 older adults with either prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension. The participants consumed 6.3 grams of either dark or white chocolate daily. After 18 weeks, systolic blood pressure fell about 3mm and diastolic fell 2mm in those consuming dark chocolate only. It is known, that dark chocolate does have a role in increasing production of nitric oxide in the vascular endothelium, and this is the likely mechanism of the blood pressure lowering effects. Dark chocolate also has antioxidant properties.

Similar effects on lowering blood pressure are noted with lifestyle and diet modifications. A little dark chocolate probably tastes better than most things that help with blood pressure. The best approach is diet and lifestyle modifications with a little dark chocolate as a healthy and beneficial treat.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson