We’ve been extolling the health benefits of chocolate for some time. Recently, Cochrane Collaborations published a report that analyzed 20 studies, all finding that blood pressure actually reduced in subjects who ate small to moderate amounts of dark chocolate or cocoa. Who would have thought that just a tasteful delight could reduce blood pressure naturally.
Reduce Blood Pressure Naturally with Dark Chocolate
Lead researcher Karin Ried of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne gave tentative but hopeful remarks. “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.” The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gave a similar ruling stating the dark chocolate and cocoa powder could boost blood flow. If the European Commission approves of this ruling, chocolate producers could put health claims on their products.
This brings us to our next point: there is, sadly, a dark side to chocolate research. Some studies, like this one that found cocoa flavanol consumption helped cognitive function, insulin resistance in elderly subjects, and can reduce blood pressure naturally was actually funded by Mars Inc. That’s like Philip Morris funding cigarette research. Would you believe it? Just something to take into consideration with that particular piece of research.
Admittedly, not all of these studies have such suspect financial backing, and there’s ample evidence that organic, GMO-free chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content has more than a handful of benefits. Scientists have observed healthy blood pressure ranges in indigenous people of San Blas Island in Central America, who drink flavanol-rich cocoa daily. As previously discussed, healthy varieties of chocolate:
- Is high in antioxidants (flavanols)
- Reduces inflammation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Stimulates endorphin production
- is a mood booster, thanks to its serotonin content
- contains magnesium, vitamin A, B1, B2, D, and E
The bottom line? Dr. Elizabeth Jackson told Reuters, “To me this says a little bit of dark chocolate isn’t too bad for you, but you wouldn’t want to go overboard with the calories and eat a pound of chocolate.” Moderation—and the type of chocolate—is key.