Small amounts of dark chocolate may lower blood pressure

Although it’s not Easter or Valentine’s Day, today is a holiday, which in America implies a day set aside for, among other things, gorging oneself on all manner of fried, grilled and gooey items.
In this spirit, I bring you wonderful news from Germany, where researchers found that eating just a quarter of an ounce of dark chocolate daily (about 30 calories’ worth) for 18 weeks lowered the systolic and diastolic blood pressures of hypertensive persons by 3 and 2 points, respectively.


This reduction, while seemingly trivial, would result in an estimated 5% reduction in the overall risk of death from cardiovascular causes if propagated throughout the population.
Believed to be responsible for the antihypertendive effect are chemicals found in dark chocolate called polyphenols. Produced by plants, polyphenols possibly possess antioxidant and anticancer properties in addition to their proposed protective effects on the cardiovascular system, including lowered stroke risk.
The lead researcher may or may not have been stating the obvious in observing that dark chocolate is no substitute for exercising more, eating more fruit and vegetables, and reducing fat and sugar intake.