Cocoa flavanols cut blood pressure, says study

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cocoa flavanols, Blood

The daily consumption of 17 grams of ACTICOA dark chocolate, containing 500 milligrams (mg) of cocoa flavanols, for two weeks helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, according to new research presented at Health Ingredients Europe (HIE) 2008 Show in Paris.

In a study conducted by Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, two test groups ate a small portion of ACTICOA chocolate every day for two weeks.

The first group's chocolate contained 500 mg cocoa flavanols while the second group's portion included 1000 mg of cocoa flavanols. "After two weeks both groups, independent of the dose displayed significantly reduced blood pressure," ​according to the chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut.

The study reported a seven point reduction in systolic blood pressure and a five point lowering in diastolic blood pressure expressed as a reduction of 7/5 mercury. There were 17 people in each group and everyone had normal blood pressure.

"This reduction has a proven, beneficial effect on our health as a reduction in blood pressure of 7/5mm Hg reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases," ​said the company.

Commenting on the research, Hans Vriens, chief innovation officer at Barry Callebaut said: "ACTICOA chocolate is the only one in the world that contains so many cocoa flavanols...(this chocolate)... contains three times as many antioxidants (cocoa flavanols) as standard chocolate."

In addition to promoting healthy blood pressure and blood circulation, the company claims its chocolate keeps the body's natural resistance to oxidative stress intact and protects brain function.

This latest study from Queen Margaret University follows other research which supports claims that the consumption of polyphenol-rich cocoa benefits heart health.

Meanwhile, several products containing ACTICOA cocoa powder or chocolate are already commercially available.

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