There’s nothing quite like chocolate – no matter whether it’s in a cake, a snack bar, or just melted, it’s a universally loved food. There’s also nothing quite like hypertension, with the vast majority of the elderly population taking tablets to treat its varying degrees. We’ve all been using the ‘dark chocolate is good for you’ argument to eat that little bit extra – and now there’s some evidence that it can lower your blood pressure.
This 13-article summary from Hypertension no less has a look at the benefits of dark chocolate in lowering your blood pressure, and generally the results are looking good.
Firstly, the open label studies that were looked at did measure the blood pressure in a reasonable way, but the double blinded ones didn’t give away a whole lot of detail about methodology. Secondly, the brand of chocolate seemed important – the Ritter brand seemed to do better and the Mars/Dove not as well – but the studies were done differently as well which complicates things.
At the end of the day, they say that “..evidence [suggests] that dark chocolate can improve insulin sensitivity and vascular endothelial function…possibly lower[ing] BP”. We definitely need more evidence, especially in regards to the optimum amount of chocolate, amounts of active component, and harmful effects, with some high quality trials in this area – sign me up any day.
Read the full article here, a similar article from BMC Medicine here, and check out more on this topic over at the BMJ here and here.