Eating dark chocolate could be as good for your heart as half an hour’s exercise, according to new research. Dark chocolate can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke by up to 20 per cent, the study suggests.
But the effect is only seen in people who already have high blood pressure. Researchers at the University of Adelaide found that dark chocolate “significantly” decreased blood pressure in subjects with hypertension.
The benefits stem from chemicals called flanavols, which are present in high quantities in cocoa beans. The chemical stimulates the production of endothelial nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to dilate. The research concluded that eating food high in flanavols could have an effect on blood pressure equivalent to that produced by 30 minutes of exercise.