3.8. The Regular Daily Intake of Dark Chocolate Improves the Endothelial Function in Young and Healthy Individuals
Pereira, T. *; Conde, J.
The aim of this study was to assess the vascular benefits of a dark chocolate intake program, particularly for the endothelial function, in healthy and young individuals.
A randomized and controlled trial was carried out involving 60 healthy young individuals, 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. All the individuals were submitted to two clinical evaluations, basal and after one month of intervention, in which their weight, height, body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), heart rate (HR) and flow-mediated dilation (FMD) were assessed.
CG and IG groups had similar baseline clinical and demographic characteristics. After the intervention, BMI, HR and brachial BP did not suffer significant variations in either group. The basal FMD was similar in the IG and the CG, but was significantly different in the second evaluation, with the IG showing higher FMD values (23.22% ˘ 7.64% versus 13.23% ˘ 5.76%, respectively for the IG and the CG; p < 0.001). Endothelial function improved in the IG, with the FMD increasing 9.31% after the one-month intervention (p < 0.001), with no significant variation in the CG.
The daily ingestion of 10 g dark chocolate (>75% cocoa) for a month has a positive modulation effect over the endothelium-dependent vasodilation in young and healthy individuals. This optimization of endothelial function could play a crucial role in cardiovascular preventive strategies, although further research is needed to clearly demonstrate the benefits of dark chocolate in the long term.