Chocolate Helps Lower Blood Pressure-Winter Park

It’s true. A recent study found that one small square of dark chocolate a day may lower blood pressure. Researchers think that cocoa flavanols (plant compounds that tend to have positive health benefits) are probably responsible. While the study was small — (44 non-smoking seniors with blood pressure between 130/85-160/100 mm Hg) — the results are promising because there has been other research with similar findings.

The important thing to remember is that this study tested small amounts of dark chocolate, an amount equivalent in size to 1/16th of a chocolate bar containing only 30 calories. Small servings were tested because larger servings could promote weight gain which could actually increase blood pressure.

Consumption of dark chocolate was associated with a small, but significant, drop in systolic blood pressure. While this is encouraging, more studies are needed to confirm the effect of dark chocolate on blood pressure in more diverse populations — participants in this study were from a higher socioeconomic class and had a normal body weight. If you are trying to control hypertension, there are diet recommendations clinically proven to reduce blood pressure. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, has been shown to significantly reduce systolic blood pressure.

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