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Int J Hypertens. 2012;2012:147321. doi: 10.1155/2012/147321. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Consumption of high-polyphenol dark chocolate improves endothelial function in individuals with stage 1 hypertension and excess body weight.

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1
Discipline of Clinical and Experimental Pathophysiology, Rio de Janeiro State University, 20551-030 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hypertension and excess body weight are important risk factors for endothelial dysfunction. Recent evidence suggests that high-polyphenol dark chocolate improves endothelial function and lowers blood pressure. This study aimed to evaluate the association of chocolate 70% cocoa intake with metabolic profile, oxidative stress, inflammation, blood pressure, and endothelial function in stage 1 hypertensives with excess body weight.

METHODS:

Intervention clinical trial includes 22 stage 1 hypertensives without previous antihypertensive treatment, aged 18 to 60 years and presents a body mass index between 25.0 and 34.9 kg/m(2). All participants were instructed to consume 50 g of chocolate 70% cocoa/day (2135 mg polyphenols) for 4 weeks. Endothelial function was evaluated by peripheral artery tonometry using Endo-PAT 2000 (Itamar Medical).

RESULTS:

Twenty participants (10 men) completed the study. Comparison of pre-post intervention revealed that (1) there were no significant changes in anthropometric parameters, percentage body fat, glucose metabolism, lipid profile, biomarkers of inflammation, adhesion molecules, oxidized LDL, and blood pressure; (2) the assessment of endothelial function through the reactive hyperemia index showed a significant increase: 1.94 ± 0.18 to 2.22 ± 0.08, P = 0.01.

CONCLUSION:

In individuals with stage 1 hypertension and excess body weight, high-polyphenol dark chocolate improves endothelial function.

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