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HERSHEY, Pa. -- Eating dark chocolate can result in short-term improvements in arterial function and blood pressure, according to a new study conducted at Yale University's Prevention Research Center and funded by The Hershey Co. here.
"This is the latest study to suggest a link between dark chocolate, which contains natural flavanol antioxidants, and health benefits," said Dr. David Katz, associate professor of public health at Yale, and director of the Prevention Research Center, who conducted the study. "The dark chocolate tested in this trial improved blood pressure and arterial function. This clearly suggests that dark chocolate isn't just good; it's good for you."
The Yale study used ultrasound technology and sophisticated measurements to assess the effects of eating high-cacao content dark chocolate, Hershey's Extra Dark, on the arterial function of 45 moderately overweight adults. The study also measured subjects' blood pressure before and two hours after eating two servings (74 grams) of dark chocolate. The study demonstrated improvements in blood pressure, as well as the ability of blood vessels to dilate and increase flow, a key indicator of cardiovascular health, after eating dark chocolate. No such effects were seen with a low-flavanol placebo. This is the first phase of an ongoing trial. Future phases will explore the relationship between the consumption of dark chocolate and cocoa and the potential for longer-term health benefits.
"We are extremely encouraged about these results indicating the link between Hershey's Extra Dark and potential health benefits," said Thomas K. Hernquist, s.v.p. and president, U.S. Confectionery, The Hershey Company. "The dark chocolate category continues to grow at a rapid rate, as consumers discover the unique, bold taste of dark chocolate and the fact that cocoa is a natural source of antioxidants."