START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
749,224 people care about Real Food

Chocolate Can Lower Blood Pressure? (Don’t Get Too Excited!)

Chocolate Can Lower Blood Pressure? (Don’t Get Too Excited!)

An analysis of 20 studies has found that daily consumption of dark chocolate can slightly lower blood pressure. The reason is flavanols, compounds in cocoa that produce a chemical, nitrous oxide, which helps to relax blood vessels so that blood passes more easily through them.

The UK-based Cochrane Collaboration, which reviews research to investigate the effectiveness of health claims, conducted the analysis. NPR sums up the studies, which ranged in length from two to 18 weeks:

Volunteers in the studies consumed dark chocolate or cocoa powder each day ranging from 3 to 100 grams (a regular-size 1.5-ounce Hershey bar is about 43 grams). And the results? Overall, there were small reductions in blood pressure, averaging 2-3 mm Hg. (Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury.)

The reduction in blood pressure from eating dark chocolate is modest and eating it is no substitute for taking medication. Another study in The Lancet medical journal notes that dark chocolate may not (alas!) contain as many flavanols as thought: while it tends to have a higher cocoa content than milk chocolate and therefore more flavanols, these tend to be removed to lessen bitterness.

Nonetheless, as Karin Ried, from the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, Australia, says in the BBC, some dark chocolate consumption could “complement other treatment options and might contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

High blood pressure has been linked to about 54 percent of strokes worldwide and about 47 cases of coronary heart disease. Treatments include medication and, generally, directives not to eat this or that (to lower sodium intake, for instance), so being told you could add something (and chocolate, at that) has its advantages.

The analysis adds to a small but growing collection of studies finding health benefits in chocolate. Other research noted by NPR has found that cocoa contains compounds which can “inhibit the activity of a digestive enzyme and block the breakdown of fat.”

Archaeologists have found evidence — traces of 2,500-year-old chocolate on a plate instead of a cup — suggesting that the Mayans may have used chocolate as a condiment and not only as a beverage. This finding is possible evidence connecting ancient diets with those in contemporary Mexico and also further suggests that there is something special, even magic, in chocolate. Why else have we been consuming it for millennia?

Related Care2 Coverage

The Dark Chocolate Treatment For Heart Disease

This Chocolate Brought To You By Sail (Video)

Bittersweet: The High Cost of Cheap Chocolate



Read more: , , , , , , , ,

Photo by Chocolate Reviews

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
2:09PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

All chocolate should be slavery free.

To help make that happen, please sign my petition:

8:34AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

ick. i like dark chocolate though

6:09PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

everything in moderation...

5:37AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012


1:40AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Thank you.

11:27PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

A little of what you fancy does you good.

11:26PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

A little of what you fancy does you good.

7:50PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

Thank you!

3:23PM PDT on Aug 19, 2012


10:28AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Darlene... as for speaking to the topic, hasn't it all been said thousands of times?

"Deficits don't matter." ~ Dick Cheney And let's not confuse the deficit with the national debt. During…

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK


Civil Rights


Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights


Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!