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Chocolate May Help Lower Blood Pressure

It seems there’s been a lot of news circulating my favorite food lately: Chocolate. And this time, research is pointing to one more benefit of this delectable dessert.

A new study from the UK-based research group, Cochrane Collaboration, suggests that chocolate consumption truly is good for your heart. And no, we’re not making this stuff up.

As reported by NPR, a collection of 20 studies analyzed the compounds in cocoa known as flavanols and found they may help reduce blood pressure. This is because flavanols have been found to help the formation of nitric oxide in the body – an effect of relaxed blood vessel walls.

The studies required participants to consume either dark chocolate or cocoa powder every day ranging in portion size from 3 -100 grams. For reference, a 1.5 ounce Hershey’s bar weighs 43 grams, and a single Hershey’s kiss weighs 4.5 grams.

Results showed participants saw small reductions in blood pressure: 2-3 mm Hg on average (mm meaning millimeters of mercury).

Karin Ried of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine and the University of Adelaide in Australia was pleased with the findings, but doesn’t believe this means chocolate is the new go-to treatment for high blood pressure. Instead, she contends thatĀ flavanols may be a good component to come alongside other treatment options in hopes of controlling and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
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