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Chocolate could help treat high BP

health and fitness Updated: Jun 29, 2010 14:18 IST
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ChocolateSuffering from hypertension? Fret not, just gorge on a chunk of chocolate daily, for a new study says that it could have the same positive effect on high blood pressure as half an hour of exercise.

Researchers have carried out the study and found that people with high blood pressure can reduce the chance of having a heart attack or a stroke by 20 per cent if they eat chocolate everyday.

According to them, chocolate, particularly the dark variety, contains chemicals known as flavanols which naturally open up blood vessels in the body, which means blood can flow more easily and the pressure drops.

"You don't always need medication to reduce blood pressure. This shows that there are some foods that can help," lead researcher Dr Karin Ried of Adelaide University was quoted by the British newspaper as saying.

For the study, the researchers combined the results of 15 other studies looking at chocolate and cocoa between 1955 and 2009 covering hundreds of people.

They found that for people with hypertension, eating chocolate could reduce the blood pressure by up to five per cent. But for those with normal pressure it had no effect, the findings revealed.

"This is a significant finding. We've found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure," Dr Reid said.