According to an analysis of 20 clinical trials, researchers have confirmed that chocolate does in fact reduce blood pressure.
The key ingredient in chocolate is cocoa which contains flavonoids. It is thought that these flavonoids produce a chemical in the body called nitric oxide. The impact of nitric oxide is to relax the blood vessels in the body which subsequently reduces the resistance that the blood has when passing through. This would then mean that blood pressure is lowered. Additionally, cocoa also contains another flavonoid known as Epicatechin, this is believed to prevent the build up of cholesterol in blood vessels and capillaries. This also helps to maintain a resistance free channel for the blood to flow around the body.
The analysis of the 20 studies saw huge disparities in the amounts of chocolate individuals in the studies were consuming. In some research studies participants were consuming 3 g of chocolate daily while in others they were eating as much as 100 g.
The meta analysis reported that the impact of chocolate on blood pressure remained the same irrespective of the amount consumed. There was on average a decrease of between 2 and mmHg (millimetres of mercury).
Representatives from the British Heart Foundation have reportedly commented on the findings that there are better means of reducing blood pressure highlighting the fact that 100g of chocolate contains approximately 500 calories, 25 percent of the daily recommended amount for women.
Mindfulness has also been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure, stress and anxiety, all of which will lower an individual’s chances of suffering from heart and blood pressure related complications. In combination with changes in diet such as reduced intake of salt and alcohol and gentle daily exercise, a small amount of chocolate could not only help in lowering blood pressure but could also be good for moral and general life satisfaction.