Q. I’ve got a comment about the dark chocolate controversy on whether it is irresponsible to recommend chocolate for health benefits.
I started eating Hershey’s dark chocolate when it was on sale a few weeks ago. I enjoy about five of the little squares twice a day. Both my systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers went down about 15 or 20 points each.
A. Chocolate will never substitute for blood pressure medicine, but some data support your experience. Studies have demonstrated modest of benefits of cocoa and dark chocolate in lowering blood pressure (Hypertension, Aug., 2005; Archives of Internal Medicine, Feb. 27, 2006).
Your reaction to chocolate is much greater than average. The amount needed to affect blood pressure ranges from 10 g (the size of one Ghirardelli chocolate square) to 100 g (the size of a Ritter Sport bar).