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How eating dark chocolate could reduce hypertension risk

A new study has found that eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of essential hypertension

Flavanols present in dark chocolates are also known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.(Pexels)

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 12.01.2024  |  04:33 PM IST

Dark chocolate is often associated with health benefits such as improving mood and blood flow. Now, a new study has found that eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of essential hypertension, which refers to high pressure that is caused by multiple factors and does not have a specific cause.

In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers explored the relationship between dark chocolate intake and risks of 12 cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, non-rheumatic valve disease, non-ischemic cardiopathy, and essential hypertension.

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The findings revealed that dark chocolate intake significantly reduces the risk of essential hypertension and suggested a negative link between dark chocolate intake and the risk of venous thromboembolism, which occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein. Notably, no significant relationship between dark chocolate intake was observed for other tested cardiovascular diseases, News Medical reported.

Moreover, flavanols present in dark chocolates are also known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. They are believed to be the main contributing factors towards a healthy cardiovascular system.

Previous studies have also highlighted the health benefits of chocolate. A 2022 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, found that cocoa consumption could reduce high blood pressure and arterial stiffness. According to ANI’s report, the researchers said that the positive impact cocoa flavanols have on the cardiovascular system, specifically, blood vessel function and blood pressure is undeniable. 

Another study, published in The FASEB Journal in 2014, showed that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels--known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis, the thickening or hardening of arteries.

A 2009 study published ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, also linked consumption of chocolate with stress reduction. The findings showed that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed.

Importantly, the new study’s researchers suggest that people should not rely only on dark chocolate to prevent essential hypertension. Instead, people who are at high risk for essential hypertension can replace unhealthy snacks with dark chocolate to improve their cardiovascular health, News Medical explained.

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