Flavanol-rich cocoa may lead drop in blood pressure

Flavanol-rich cocoa may lead drop in blood pressure

NEW YORK - Reuters
Flavanol-rich cocoa may lead drop in blood pressure

Eating a daily dose of cocoa or dark chocolate, rich in plant compounds called flavanols, may lead to a slight drop in blood pressure for a short period of time, a fresh look at past research suggests.

Pulling data from 20 studies published over the last decade, researchers found that people who ate flavanol-rich cocoa products every day for a few weeks saw their blood pressure drop by about two or three points.

While the researchers cannot say flavanols are responsible for lowering blood pressure in the study participants, the compounds, which are also found in foods such as green tea, berries and red wine, are linked to nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide, according to the authors, helps relax blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure.