The blind gamer

Take your medicine

Now this is the sort of science for which the public clamors: A study has found that eating dark chocolate reduces your blood pressure.

In the new issue of Hypertension, the paper — “Cocoa Reduces Blood Pressure and Insulin Resistance and Improves Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilation in Hypertensives” — reports a study in which half the patients with hypertension were fed dark chocolate, and half fed white chocolate. Dark chocolate is high in flavanoids, antioxidant compounds also found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The folks who ate white chocolate saw no change. But the ones chowing down on dark chocolate had an 11.9 mm Hg drop in their systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — and a 8.5 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure, number on the bottom. As one of the scientists told Forbes:

“It turns out that chocolate is not only a pleasurable food, but it fits in quite nicely with the other healthy recommendations,” said coauthor Jeffrey B. Blumberg, a professor of nutrition and a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “We found that three ounces of dark chocolate per day over several weeks reduced blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension and also seemed to provide a benefit on their insulin sensitivity,” he added.

Right on. First wine, then beer, now chocolate can be good for you. I can’t wait for the study that gives me the green light on crack.

(Thanks to F!LTER magazine for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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