Aim: The goal of this study was to assess the effect of dark chocolate intake on cardiovascular parameters like blood pressure and heart rate values in a normotensive population.
Subjects and methods: This is a randomized cross-sectional study involving a total of 14,310 adults that were selected from various regions of Jordan. Well-trained pharmacy students interviewed participants in the outpatient settings. Participants reported their weekly intake of dark chocolate that has been further classified into mild (1-2 bars/week), moderate (3-4 bars/week), and high intake ( > 4 bars/week). For each participant, the systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and heart rate were measured three times with (10-15) minute intervals in the sitting position and the resting state. The arterial blood pressure (ABP) was calculated from the measured SBP and DBP values.
Results: All measured blood pressure values were significantly decreased for participants who reported higher dark chocolate consumption. Our results showed that heart rate values were not affected by variable intake of dark chocolate. In addition, increasing dark chocolate intake was associated with a significant decrease of blood pressure values in participants irrespective of the family history of hypertension or the age of the individual. However, heart rate values were unaffected.
Conclusion: Higher intake of dark chocolate can be associated with lower values of blood pressure, while its effect on heart rate values was not consistent.