Current Hypertension Reports

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 205-211

First online:

Effect of dark chocolate on arterial function in healthy individuals: Cocoa instead of ambrosia?

  • Charalambos VlachopoulosAffiliated withHypertension Unit and Peripheral Vessels Unit, 1st Cardiology Department, Athens Medical School Email author 
  • , Nikolaos Alexopoulos
  • , Christodoulos Stefanadis

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Cocoa has been consumed for at least 2500 years, and for long time it has been regarded as a medicine. Arterial function is of paramount importance for the proper function and integrity of the cardiovascular system. Dark chocolate and flavonoid-rich cocoa have beneficial acute and shortterm effects on endothelial function and wave reflections in normal individuals, in adults with cardiovascular risk factors, and in patients with coronary artery disease. Furthermore, dark chocolate and flavonoid-rich cocoa may have a blood pressure-lowering effect. These effects can be attributed to flavonoids and are mainly mediated through increased nitric oxide bioavailability. Further research is needed to demonstrate whether these effects of chocolate on arterial function are translated into clinical benefit.