Central arterial hemodynamic effects of dark chocolate ingestion in young healthy people: a randomized and controlled trial

Cardiol Res Pract. 2014;2014:945951. doi: 10.1155/2014/945951. Epub 2014 May 27.

Abstract

Introduction. The aim of this study was to assess the vascular benefits of dark chocolate in healthy and young individuals. Methods. A randomized and controlled trial was carried out involving 60 healthy volunteers, randomized into two groups: control group (CG; n = 30) and intervention group (IG; n = 30). The IG ingested a daily dosage of 10 g of dark chocolate (>75% cocoa) for a month. Blood pressure (BP), flow-mediated dilation (FMD), arterial stiffness index (ASI), aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), and pulse wave analysis (PWA) were assessed at baseline and one week after the one-month intervention period. Results. Arterial function improved after intervention in the IG, with PWV decreasing from 6.13 ± 0.41 m/s to 5.83 ± 0.53 m/s (P = 0.02), with no significant differences observed in the CG. A significant decrease in ASI (0.16 ± 0.01 to 0.13 ± 0.01; P < 0.001) and AiX (-15.88 ± 10.75 to -22.57 ± 11.16; P = 0.07) was also depicted for the IG. Endothelial function improved in the IG, with the FMD increasing 9.31% after the 1-month intervention (P < 0.001), with no significant variation in the CG. Conclusion. The daily ingestion of 10 g dark chocolate (>75% cocoa) during a month significantly improves vascular function in young and healthy individuals.