Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dark chocolate, cocoa compounds, may reduce blood pressure

Date:
August 14, 2012
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
Compounds in cocoa may help to reduce blood pressure, according to a new systematic review. The researchers reviewed evidence from short-term trials in which participants were given dark chocolate or cocoa powder daily and found that their blood pressure dropped slightly compared to a control group.

Compounds in cocoa may help to reduce blood pressure, according to a new systematic review.
Credit: picsfive / Fotolia

Compounds in cocoa may help to reduce blood pressure, according to a new systematic review in The Cochrane Library. The researchers reviewed evidence from short-term trials in which participants were given dark chocolate or cocoa powder daily and found that their blood pressure dropped slightly compared to a control group.

Cocoa contains compounds called flavanols, thought to be responsible for the formation of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide causes blood vessel walls to relax and open wider, thereby reducing blood pressure. The link between cocoa and blood pressure stems from the discovery that the indigenous people of San Blas Island in Central American, who drink flavanol-rich cocoa drinks every day, have normal blood pressure regardless of age. However, flavanol concentrations in cocoa and chocolate products vary according to cocoa processing procedures and types of chocolate, so it is difficult to establish the optimal dosage for an effect.

To investigate the effect of flavanols on blood pressure, the researchers reviewed data from trials in which people consumed dark chocolate or cocoa powder containing between 30-1080 mg of flavanols in 3-100 g of chocolate each day. Altogether, 856 people were involved in 20 trials lasting 2-8 weeks, or in one case, 18 weeks. Flavanol-rich chocolate or cocoa powder reduced blood pressure on average by 2-3 mm Hg.

“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,” said lead researcher Karin Ried of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, Australia, who worked with colleagues at the University of Adelaide.

In a subset of trials, when chocolate or cocoa powder was compared to flavanol-free-products as controls, the beneficial effects were more pronounced (3-4 mm Hg), whereas the researchers found no significant effect on blood pressure in the second subset with low-flavanol products as control. It is possible that low-flavanol products also have a small effect on blood pressure, so that it was harder to observe differences between high and low-flavanol products in these trials. However, results of these subsets of trials may have been influenced by trial length and blinding of participants, as trials using flavanol-free control products tended to be of shorter duration with participants knowing their allocated group.

“We’ll also need to see long term trials, including effects on the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, before we can come to conclusions regarding clinical outcomes and potential side effects of long-term consumption,” said Ried. “These trials should use flavanol-free products in the control groups to eliminate any potential effects of low-dose flavanol on blood pressure.”

Related Articles



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karin Ried, Thomas R Sullivan, Peter Fakler, Oliver R Frank, Nigel P Stocks. Effect of cocoa on blood pressure. The Cochrane Library, 2012 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub2

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Dark chocolate, cocoa compounds, may reduce blood pressure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814213359.htm>.
Wiley. (2012, August 14). Dark chocolate, cocoa compounds, may reduce blood pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814213359.htm
Wiley. "Dark chocolate, cocoa compounds, may reduce blood pressure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120814213359.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins