Meet Your Cardiovascular Health Goals with Dark Chocolate

Struggling with erratic blood pressure levels? Are you confused about how you can meet your cholesterol goals? According to Everyday Health columnist Dr. T. Jared Bunch, the key to meeting your cardiovascular health goals is simple and tasty: Eat dark chocolate.

In one trial, participants who are struggling with high blood pressure were asked to consume 100 grams of white chocolate or dark chocolate. Those who ate dark chocolate were seen to have improvements in their cholesterol levels – a 12-percent drop of their LDL cholesterol, or the “bad” cholesterol, which is associated with an increased risk for heart disease.

Another trial looked into the link between eating dark chocolate and an increase in HDL, or the “good” cholesterol. Dutch researchers credited theobromine, a bioactive compound in cacao, for the HDL increase.

Has your blood pressure continue to climb? Good news! Dark chocolate is also known for its calming effects on blood pressure. In an 18-week trial, participants who ate six grams of dark chocolate each day saw a substantial drop in their blood pressure compared to those who ate white chocolate.

Ideally, one should maintain a healthy blood pressure level of 120/80, the American Heart Association states. Participants who consumed dark chocolate saw a drop of three points in their systolic blood pressure (the top number) and a decrease in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by two points.

People struggling with recurring migraine or allergies should exercise caution when eating dark chocolate, which could trigger symptoms of their respective conditions.