Chocolate and Blood Pressure: Will 30 Calories a Day?

It might seem like an unlikely pairing but chocolate and blood pressure actually have a positive relationship. Learn the results of a German study that proved that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure.

Chocolate and blood pressure work well

Chocolate and blood pressure might seem like an unlikely combination, but a growing number of studies are actually showing that these two have a good relationship. This claim seems too goodChocolate and blood pressure to be true, but a recent research from the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany has shown evidence that consuming a certain amount of dark chocolate
every day can actually lower your blood pressure. Read on as we learn more about this study, and the results that prove that dark chocolate just might be good for you and your health.

According to German researchers, the health benefits of dark chocolate might include lowering high blood pressure. However, overindulging in dark chocolate might blow your calorie budget, and packing on pounds can increase blood pressure. Therefore, portion control might help you have your dark chocolate fix and still reap its benefits, this new study suggests. The researchers reported that small amounts of dark chocolate efficiency reduced blood pressure. But how small is a small amount of dark chocolate? The participants of the study were limited to 30 calories a day of dark chocolate, which is roughly the number of calories in a Hershey’s Kiss.

What are the Benefits of Dark Chocolate?

The study included 44 adults aged 56 to 73 years in Duisburg, Germany. The 24 women and 20 men had mild high blood pressure or borderline blood pressure that just fell short of hypertension. They were otherwise healthy and were not taking blood pressure drugs or any nutritional supplements. The participants were split into two similar groups. One group got 30-calorie daily doses of dark chocolate for 18 weeks. The researchers checked the amount of cocoa in the German chocolate bars. For comparison, the other group got a similar daily dose of white chocolate, which does not contain cocoa or chocolate liquor. Both groups were made to take their chocolate dose two hours after dinner. They did not change their diets and fitness habits, and kept a diet and exercise diary.

Does Chocolate Lower Blood Pressure?

The participants of the dark chocolate study got blood pressure checkups and tests at the start of the study, as well as midpoint and the end. At the end of the study, those who consumed dark chocolate antioxidants decreased their systolic blood pressure by almost three points and their diastolic blood pressure by almost two points on average. Systolic blood pressure is the first or top number in a blood pressure reading, while the diastolic blood pressure is the second or bottom number in a blood pressure reading. Blood pressure did not budge for better or worse in the white chocolate group.

Chocolate and Blood Pressure: A Modest Benefit from Dark Chocolate

Even though the magnitude of the blood pressure reduction was considerably small, the effects are clinically worth taking note of. The researchers note that bigger studies are required and that they are not sure if the results apply to people with milder blood pressure or hypertension patients with other healthy conditions. The study does not exactly show how dark chocolate affects blood pressure, but the researchers note that compounds known as flavanols in cocoa might play a role. Others studies have also shown a link between cocoa or dark chocolate and better blood pressure. However, these studies mostly involved larger doses or cocoa or chocolate.

This study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and does not promise that dark chocolate is all that is needed to beat blood pressure. A healthy diet, losing excess weight and exercise are essential in lowering high blood pressure. However, eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day is one dietary change that is easy to adhere to. This study was funded by the University Hospital of Cologne, and none of the researchers reported any financial ties to any chocolate companies.

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