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Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
July 11, 2008 — Cocoa, either in a dark chocolate bar or as a hot drink, may reduce blood pressure in overweight adults.
The researchers — who included David L. Katz, MD, MPH, of the Yale Prevention Research Center — gave some of the participants a dark chocolate bar containing 22 grams of cocoa. Other participants got a bar containing no cocoa.
Before-and-after blood pressure and ultrasound tests showed better blood pressure and better blood vessel function after participants ate the dark chocolate bar, compared to the cocoa-free bar.
Likewise, blood pressure and blood vessel function improved after participants drank two cups of cocoa, compared with drinking a beverage containing no cocoa.
Katz and colleagues reason that in the sugary cocoa drink — which contained about 45 grams of sugar per serving — the sugar may have offset cocoa's effects to some degree.
The study — published in the July 1 edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition — was partly sponsored by the Hershey Company.
Of course, eating too much chocolate or drinking too much cocoa isn't a great idea. Blow your calorie budget and extra pounds will pile up, which is bad for your blood pressure.
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