How dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and blood sugar levels

The benefits of cocoa (try dark chocolate) are numerous, thanks to its richness in magnesium and antioxidants. But there’s even more to it. A study by Brazilian researchers, published in MDPI on June 18, 2024, and reported by Medical News Today, unveils new advantages of consuming cocoa.

Cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate

The study reveals that cocoa (dark chocolate) can reduce various cardiovascular risk factors, including the potential for developing bad cholesterol. Additionally, it has a blood pressure-lowering effect.

Researchers examined the impact of cocoa on cardiovascular risk factors through 31 trials involving 1986 participants.

Lower cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure with dark chocolate

A group of 1110 participants over 18 consumed dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa for at least four weeks. Another group consumed milk chocolate with less than 70% cocoa or white chocolate. Among the participants, many had health issues like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, excess weight, or dyslipidemia, according to Medical News Today.

Significant findings in dark chocolate consumers

Researchers noted several significant health improvements in individuals who consumed dark chocolate with 70% cocoa.

  • A reduction in overall cholesterol by 8.35 mg/dL
  • A decrease in fasting blood glucose by 4.91 mg/dL
  • A drop in systolic blood pressure by 2.52 mmHg
  • A reduction in diastolic blood pressure by 1.58 mmHg

Why is cocoa so beneficial?

Michelle Routenstein, a dietitian in preventive cardiology, explained to Medical News Today, “Cocoa is a good source of catechins and other polyphenolic compounds like flavonoids, known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can support cardiovascular health.”

Flavonoids: The heart-healthy compounds in cocoa

Routenstein added, “Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, including epicatechin, a compound that helps support the body’s rich nitric oxide reserves, contributing to heart and blood vessel health.” Flavonoids are packed with antioxidants and are crucial to fighting cardiovascular diseases.

Dark chocolate’s impact on weight

According to the research, consuming dark chocolate does not affect the weight of consumers. The researchers did not observe any changes in body mass index (BMI).

A strategy for cardiovascular health

While more in-depth studies are needed, the study concludes, “We suggest that consuming polyphenol-rich cocoa could be part of a strategy to promote cardiovascular health.”

Maintain a heart-healthy diet

To avoid developing cardiovascular diseases, maintain a healthy and varied diet, rich in nutrients and fibre, found in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts.

This article was syndicated from Marie Claire France
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer


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