Posted on Jun 11, 2012, 6 a.m.
New findings show that eating a small amount of flavanol-rich cocoa products each day can help to significantly lower blood pressure.
New research has confirmed that eating just a small amount of flavanol-rich cocoa products is enough to significantly reduce blood pressure. Sabine Ellinger, of the University of Bonn in Germany and colleagues, investigated the effect of the monomeric flavanol epicatechin on blood pressure using data from four meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. Their results showed that the potential of epicatechin to lower blood pressure was dose-dependent, with larger doses leading to greater reductions. Consuming 25 mg epicatechin per day led to a mean reduction of -4.1 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and of -2.0 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure. According to the researchers, such a reduction in systolic blood pressure is associated with a 10% lower stroke mortality and a 7% lower mortality from ischemic heart disease and other vascular diseases in middle-aged people. However, the researchers stress that it is not necessary to consume large amounts of chocolate or cocoa-based beverages in order to reduce blood pressure. Eating just 50g of dark chocolate should be enough to provide 25 mg epicatechin. Epicatechin is also found in green and black tea.
Sabine Ellinger, Andreas Reusch, Peter Stehle, Hans-Peter Helfrich. "Epicatechin ingested via cocoa products reduces blood pressure in humans: a nonlinear regression model with a Bayesian approach." Am J Clin Nutr. Published ahead of print May 2, 2012. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.029330