Food for Thought
Enjoy some rich, dark-chocolate cocoa and lower your blood pressure in the process, says a report in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Prior research examining the effects of cocoa consumption have found a correlation to lower blood pressure readings, likely due to the polyphenols in cocoa.
The earlier findings linked short-term, high intake of cocoa-containing foods to lower cardiovascular mortality. However, the JAMA study focused on how habitual, lower doses of cocoa would affect blood pressure. To determine this, the researchers compared regular intake of cocoa made with polyphenol-rich dark chocolate versus polyphenol-free white chocolate over an 18-week period.
Study participants were assigned a daily dose of 6.3 grams (g) of either dark-chocolate or white-chocolate cocoa. At the end of the study, the researchers found that baseline blood pressure levels had decreased in participants given the dark chocolate. The group given the white chocolate had no changes in blood pressure. The researchers concluded that “small amounts of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate as part of a usual diet efficiently reduced blood pressure.”