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The dark truth of healthful chocolate

While research has shown that dark chocolate can help to lower blood pressure, those studies required eating a large amount of chocolate to achieve the benefits.
So the calories will really add up if you use this sweet as a health aid. Don't worry. We've got another suggestion that will do the trick, and you can toss in small daily doses of dark chocolate for long-lasting benefits.

How does dark chocolate work its magic? The cocoa in dark chocolate contains plant chemicals known as polyphenols, which seem to relax blood vessels.

A German study published last year looked at the impact of dark chocolate consumption on blood pressure over 4 1/2 months in a group of 44 adults with hypertension and pre-hypertension.

Participants in this study received either 6.3 grams of dark chocolate every evening after dinner (about 30 calories) or a similar amount of white chocolate without polyphenols.

The researchers measured not only blood pressure but also a substance in the blood called nitric oxide, which is a powerful blood vessel relaxer.
By the end of the study, those who got the dark chocolate had small but sustained reductions in blood pressure. They also had higher levels of nitric oxide in their blood, which was believed to account for the lowered blood pressure.

Source: Press of Atlantic City

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