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Dark chocolate and high blood pressure

The media was recently salivating over the idea that dark chocolate could somehow reduce blood pressure courtesy of its flavanols. But, NHS Choices has once again debunked this medical deceived wisdom. The claims in the research hyped by the tabloids were for an average 2-3 mmHg lowering of blood pressure reading based on a meta analysis of studies into the effects of chocolate on bp. Regardless, that seems like a rather small reduction.

Chocolate in moderation can be part of a healthy balanced diet, the magazine says. But most chocolate is high in fat and calories so too much will counteract any benefits of marginal reduction in blood pressure. Moreover, the study didn’t look at heart and stroke outcomes for those eating dark chocolate so the supposed lowering of blood pressure could be have been entirely misleading with regard to health.

The magazine points out that there are far more effective and healthier ways to reduce blood pressure than indulging in chocolate (sadly):

  1. Reducing your consumption of salt (no more than 6g a day).

  2. Taking regular exercise.
  3. Losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
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