Symptoms related to high blood pressure may be eased by eating chocolate, according to research findings. There have already been numerous studies that have pointed to dark chocolate for its health benefits, so this study is just additional findings that support dark chocolate’s benefits to health.
The study included over 14,000 participants. The researchers found that participants who consumed more than four dark chocolate bars a week had significant reductions in blood pressure.
Participants were separated into three groups: Those who ate dark chocolate once or twice a week, those who ate dark chocolate three or four times a week, and those who consumed it more than four times a week.
Blood pressure and heart rate were taken from the participants while sitting and at rest.
The more dark chocolate a person ate, the more significant the reduction in blood pressure was measured.
An alternative Australian study also reviewed 15 previous studies and found similar results.
Lead author of the study Dr. Karin Ried explained, “We’ve found that consumption can modestly reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure, but not for people with normal blood pressure.”
Additional research is required to determine whether or not dark chocolate should be recommended as part of treatment to order blood pressure.
Director at the Blood Pressure Association, Mike Rich, added, “Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional sweet treat, but eating too much chocolate may cause weight gain, which in turn raises blood pressure, so we wouldn’t recommend that people rush out to get giant bars of dark chocolate just yet.”
High blood pressure—hypertension—is a growing problem worldwide and as mentioned, is the number one risk factor for heart disease. For many, hypertension goes undiagnosed until it’s too late. This is because high blood pressure can be symptomless and when symptoms do arise, it could be a result of a more serious health problem.
High blood pressure can be lowered through natural means including losing weight, reducing stress, regular exercise, eating healthy, reducing salt intake, and sleeping well.
If you’re looking for a treat, then it is recommended to opt for dark chocolate as it contains high levels of flavanols, which have been found to have positive effects on overall health. But with any treat, moderation is key.
Along with living a healthy lifestyle, adding a couple of squares of dark chocolate is a good idea to get added health benefits.
Related: Dark chocolate found to promote cognitive ability: Study