Dark Chocolate Improves Vasodilation (Yay for lower blood pressure!)

Dark chocolate has many health benefits and one health benefit is that it can lower blood pressure, although there has been research on this before, a new study goes into studying its effect on endothelial cells (responsible for vasoconstriction of blood vessels). At least 30% of the English population have blood pressure and most of them might not even know they have it and have not yet been diagnosed.  

The endothelial cells are vital for cardiovascular function and the dysfunction of endothelial cells is one of the most precocious events in atherosclerotic process. Which is the main reason why this study was carried out on endothelial cells and taking the measurement of the flow-mediated dilation (FMD). The FMD measurement can be seen as a predictor of the incidence of cardiovascular events in adults with no prior cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

The Method 

A randomized and controlled trail was carried out, using 30 healthy young individuals, placed into 2 groups: Control Group (CG) and Intervention Group (IG). Within the Intervention group: the individuals were given 8g/daily of 70% dark chocolate for an entire month. All the individuals were submitted to two clinical assessments, basal and after one month of intervention, in which their weight, height, body mass index (BMI), Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP), Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP), heart rate (HR) and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were assessed, glycaemia levels were also assessed. 

The Results 

Endothelial function improved in the IG after the 1 month flavonoid intake, with the FMD increasing from 14±5% (baseline) to 23±7% (post-intervention; p<0.001), with no significant differences in the CG. Only eight grams of dark chocolate per day were able to significantly improve endothelium-dependent vasodilation, which improved the endothelial function in the young individuals. 

Yay for dark chocolate and its blood pressure lowering effects! Only 8g of dark chocolate were able to improve endothelium function and improve vasodilation, even in the healthy individuals. Even though dark chocolate is bitter than milk chocolate but it is the best and healthiest option and in the long run it will have positive effects on your cardiovascular health. 

[1]Dark chocolate intake improves endothelial function in young healthy people: a randomized and controlled trial
photo credit: Chocolate Reviews via photopin cc photo credit: sea turtle via photopin cc photo credit: Fatma S via photopin cc