Chocolate and its component’s effect on cardiovascular disease

Katha Patel, Ronald Ross Watson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


This review article examines and discusses the advantageous effects of chocolate and its various components on cardiovascular disease. Based on both observational and experimental studies, cocoa consumption is correlated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Complementing this, cocoa consumption is also highly associated with reduced blood pressure, usually accounting for decreases in blood pressure by 3-5mm Hg. A large contributing factor influencing these beneficial cardioprotective effects is chocolate’s many components. For instance, chocolate contains many elements such as lipids, minerals, fiber, theobromine, and most notably flavonoids. Flavonoids are in many different plant-derived foods such as tea, grapes, wine, berries, and cocoa; chocolate is particularly rich in a subclass of flavonoids called flavanols. Usually, the percentage of cacao in chocolate influences the concentration of flavanols present; dark chocolate tends to contain more flavanols than milk chocolate. These flavanols are a highly significant component of cacao as they provide numerous cardiovascular health benefits. They have antihypertensive, antiinflammatory, and antioxidant qualities. The mechanisms of how cocoa consumption actually reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease are not completely known yet; however, many ongoing research studies show that the bioavailability of nitric oxide is significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLifestyle in Heart Health and Disease
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780128112793
ISBN (Print)9780128112809
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa
  • Flavanols
  • Nitric oxide
  • Polyphenols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Health Professions
  • General Medicine


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