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Cacao lowers cholesterol levels


Recent research on the subject indicates a link between the regular chocolate intake and the production of nitric oxide in humans, lowering also blood pressure. It seems that the polyphenols and procyanidins present in cocoa, the main component of chocolate, especially dark chocolate are responsible for those properties.

Additionally dark chocolate cocoa and its regular intake may play a role not only in the production of nitric oxide but also arginase, two of the main elements responsible for the vascular health benefits exerted by cocoa present in dark chocolate apart from the ability to regulate blood pressure levels. Image: Herbcyclopedia.


Family: Malvaceae

Genus: Theobroma

Common name: Cacao




CACAO CUPThere is scientific evidence that dark chocolate consumption may improve vascular health.

These chocolate polyphenols increase the synthesis of nitric oxide and arginase, two of the main elements responsible for the vascular health benefits of dark chocolate.

However, the study also reveals that this dietary chocolate intake in many of these studies cases was carried out in up to 100 g per day!! Taking into account the high content of sugar and saturated fats in chocolate the health benefits of polyphenols may be at least doubted. Image: See credits under ref. [5] below.

But this was not the only study done on the subject, in another one, it was proven that cacao procyanidins were able to lower plasma cholesterol inhibiting also its intestinal absorption [3].

Many of these clinical studies entail a daily intake of up to 100 grams of dark chocolate per day!! Taking into account the high content of sugar and saturated fats in chocolate the health benefits of polyphenols may be at least doubted.

Additionally, not all types of chocolate have the same amount of sugars and saturated fats, dark chocolate with a high concentration of cocoa may be a good option.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to prescribe or give in any way or form medical advice, recommend or diagnose. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page for more info.



[1] Pubmed, Rimbach G, Egert S, de Pascual-Teresa S.
[2] High-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate improves HDL cholesterol in Type 2 diabetes patients. Mellor DD, Sathyapalan T, Kilpatrick ES, Beckett S, Atkin SL. HONEI, University of Hull, Hull, UK.
[3] Procyanidins in Theobroma cacao Reduce Plasma Cholesterol Levels in High Cholesterol-Fed Rats. Osakabe N, Yamagishi M. Department of Bioscience and Engineering, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Fukasaku 307, Minuma, Saitama-city, Saitama 337-8570, Japan.
[4] Plant names: Porcher Michel H. et al. 1995 - 2020, Sorting Theobroma Names. Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database - A Work in Progress. Published by The University of Melbourne. Australia. < http://www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/Theobroma.html > (2010).
[5] Pixabay image under Public Domain License CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).