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How Dark Chocolate Can Lower High Blood Pressure

Updated on December 11, 2011

Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure. By eating just 30 calories worth of dark chocolate every day, your blood pressure can be lowered by as much as three points in just 18 weeks.

The study indicated that the inclusion of small amounts of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate, as part of a usual diet, efficiently reduced blood pressure and improved formation of vasodilative oxide.

Supporting this finding is yet another study published by Yale-Griffith Prevention Research Center in 2008. It suggests that eating 2.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow.

Does it have to be only dark chocolate?

It is important to remember that it must be dark chocolate which is loaded with heart healthy antioxidants. Generally, what we are sold and eat is milk chocolate. The bar chocolate that you eat should have at least 60 percent pure cocoa. The higher the percent of cocoa, the less sugar. Read labels and avoid anything with artificial ingredients. If you are buying powdered cocoa the label should say just that - 'cocoa.'

For best results, It is best to make your own hot chocolate drink with pure cocoa and add your own sugar and milk, (or soy milk, or rice milk, etc.). Many of the hot chocolate or hot cocoa drinks on the supermarket shelves are filled with partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and loaded with artificial colors and flavoring.

If the label on bar chocolate says bittersweet or semi-sweet, it is made with chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar. Powdered cocoa is made from the solids resulting from pressing cocoa butter from chocolate liquor, then grinding the partially defatted material into powder. Cocoa powder should not be 'Dutch process' - this means it has been treated with an alkalizing agent to give it a milder taste; it also contains fewer antioxidants.

How do I pick a quality chocolate?

For quality, you may want to consider chocolate products labeled fair trade or organic. Fair trade chocolate should have a Fair Trade Certified label meaning it is certified by TransFair USA. The label assures that the workers are paid a living wage, and are protected from working with harmful pesticides. Organic chocolate products should bear the USDA organic label.

Another study has shown that chocolate can curb hunger. See link below.

dark chocolate

It must be dark!
It must be dark!

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    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I just picked up a 85% cocoa bar miky and just a square or 1/2 works for me.

    • profile image

      miky 5 years ago

      im eating every day one lindette dark chocolate 85 cocoa its enaugh

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      It is good news hoteltravel - and dark chocolate was there all along - oh yay!

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 5 years ago from Thailand

      Eating the cake and having it too! I love dark and bitter chocolate. Happy to know that it has health benefits.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're welcome wmhseo! I'm glad we are going back to food to address health issues and staying away from toxic drugs.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      So true Rochelle Frank! Let's be good to ourselves!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

      Who wouldn't do this?! Gotta be dark--- and it's good for you.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm so glad you liked the hub NiaG and thanks for writing. You only need a little of the dark - and once I tasted it I can no longer go back to the milk chocolate - especially since I know it is so unhealthy.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm so glad you liked the hub NiaG and thanks for writing. You only need a little of the dark - and once I tasted it I can no longer go back to the milk chocolate - especially since I know it is so unhealthy.

    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      I recently heard this the other day on television and thought Whaaaat?! I love dark chocolate and have inherited my mother's high blood pressure (though I am still in denial about it). So now I'm really going to have to load up on my dark chocolate. Thanks BkCreative!

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Isn't it great to know. We just need to remember we want the real thing - not this milk chocolate stuff. Thanks for sharing the info.

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      Nero Bianco 6 years ago

      Awesome news...

      Have you seen our lovely new Fairtrade & Organic Chocolates - http://www.neroandbianco.com

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're very welcome aleandriaruthk! I'm glad you got some good yums out the hub! I'm so glad we are turning to all that is healthy - even dark chocolate - yay!

    • alexandriaruthk profile image

      alexandriaruthk 7 years ago from US

      I rated this one awesome, now give me those dark ones YUM YUM YUM< I will remember it should have organic on it, Thank you much friend,

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello myownworld! It turns out that dutch process means it is chemically processed with alkali. There are so many other cocoa products so we don't have to accept it.

      Thanks for your comment and enjoy your dark chocolate!

    • myownworld profile image

      myownworld 7 years ago from uk

      It seems you've written on all my favorite things to eat and drink! Just love dark chocolate, but never knew cocoa powder in it should not be dutch processed, so will keep that tip in mind! Thank you for sharing this...and now time to drink tea and enjoy some melting dark chocolate! lol..do you blame me? :)

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Vanessa! The research shows that the chocolate should be 60% cocoa or more. The more cocoa the less sugar. So 70% is even better. I like the 70% dark chocolate bar. You only need a tiny piece to be satisfied! Unlike milk chocolate which is often just 10% chocolate and you wind up eating the whole thing. Enjoy your bit of chocolate!

      Thanks for writing!

    • profile image

      Vanessa 7 years ago

      Hi. Can a dark chocolate with 70% cocoa and plus with a little milk and sugar help to reduce high blood pressure?

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      That sounds excellent justmesuzanne! Dark chocolate with coffee. A win/win morning! Nice to hear from you!

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

      There are just not enough good things to say about dark chocolate! I enjoy 2 ounces every morning with my first cup of strong, black coffee! :D

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Lita C. Malicdem - I am a fan too of that Hershey's dark cocoa - it makes a thrilling hot cocoa drink - and an outstanding chocolate cake! And so true with the bitter, you only need a little and I find it soooo satisfying.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

      BkCreative.

      Whenever I crave for chocolates my 2 daughters buy me the dark with bitter taste. Although I didn't say my mind aloud, I thought it was to somehow deter me from eating more, as I'm a diabetic.

      Yes, instead of coffee they buy me Hershey's cocoa powder. Now I know the benefits dark choco offers. Thank you for this informative hub.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Nice to meet you drej2522!

      Glad you found the hub informative. We've been sold so much fattening milk chocolate - I don't think many of us knew about the benefits from dark chocolate.

      Thanks for writing!

    • drej2522 profile image

      drej2522 8 years ago from Augusta, GA

      That's interesting...I never knew there were ANY benefits to dark chocolate. I'll definitely look into it. Thanks!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I was tempted to buy a 90% bar the other day meech741 but it just didn't grab me. I appreciate the medicinal properties but I want it to be fun too. I like the 70%.

      Good advice about a piece to ward off the drowsy period in the afternoon when so many of us start that crash. Will spread the word. It will certainly beat that wretched brown stuff they pass off as coffee.

      Thanks for your suggestion!

    • profile image

      meech741 8 years ago

      I'm nuts for dark chocolate, 60-70-80%! I did try some that was over 90%, but it was like trying to choke down powder. I find that a couple of pieces of dark chocolate seems to ward off the afternoon drowsy period at the office more effectively than coffee. Cheers!

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Dark chocolate orange slices charm-baker? - oh soooo good! Dark chocolate covered anything - Mmmmmm.

      And I admit that I would eat 2 1/2 slices of the dark chocolate cake too, but that is because it is there.

      Thanks so much for writing!

    • charm_baker profile image

      Charm Baker 8 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Great hub! I concur with all the above, except for the part in your comment about "having a slice to feel...satisfied...! It takes me at least two and a half slices and even then I have to literally force myself away from the plate!!! I must admit, I'm a sucker for the Milk Chocolate, but after reading this, I'll try to sway my tastebuds. I do love those dark chocolate covered "orange slices". Thanks again.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      li7218 - love your sense of humor.

      fastfreta - when I used to make a chocolate cake - from scratch - I would use pure dark cocoa. There was nothing in the world like those cakes! And you only need a thin slice to feel full, satisfied and happy! Ah, of course, dark chocolate does that.

      ShaliniKagal - I'm glad you took the time to validate those dark chocolate findings. And we should always demand the best - food additives are harming us. We are truly eating garbage and suffering for it.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      I'm convinced! I know now why my blood pressure's low - I just love dark chocolate. Great hub with all the tips of how to look out for the real thing without additives!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      My son has gotten into baking anything with chocolate in it. I am going to let him read this hub. I don't know if he'll be impressed about how and what chocolate is made from. But I'm going to let him read it anyway. Bookmark time. Thanks BK for the info. Oh, by the way good hub.

    • BkCreative profile image
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      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you too IslandVoice.

      Hope you can find the exact dark chocolate that won't be too bitter for you! There are so many on the market now - you would have to go through a lot to find one right for you -which may be fun!

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 8 years ago from Hawaii

      My husband is a firm believer of the benefits of dark chocolate. I'm a chocolate addict, but find dark chocolate a bit bitter. I know i need to get over that, since i have hypertension! Thanks for this healthy share.