New Study: Chocolate during Pregnancy Lowers Risks of Hypertension

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 by: Aaron Turpen
Tags: chocolate, pregnancy, health news

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(NaturalNews) As if anyone needed another reason to eat chocolate, new research published in the August 2010 issue of the Annals of Epidemiology suggests that chocolate may be good for both gestational hypertension (GH) and for preeclampsia.1

This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with a lot of other research regarding chocolate, most of which has been featured here on NaturalNews in the past. Gestational hypertension is physiologically related to some forms of generalized high blood pressure and heart disease symptoms, which have been shown to be lowered beneficially through chocolate consumption (especially chocolates based on real cacao).2

This latest study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and from the Center for Perinatal, Pediatric, and Environmental Epidemiology at Yale University through grants from the National Institutes of Health. Subjects from 13 prenatal care practices in Connecticut were recruited and interviews were conducted within the first sixteen weeks of gestation.

A total of 2,567 women were included in the study, with most of their pregnancies (2,351) being normal without problems. 158 of the women were diagnosed as GH and 58 were preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition in which high blood pressure and protein in the urine develop after the 20th week of pregnancy. It can lead to serious problems for mother and baby, but instances of death and serious complication are rare in the U.S. as women are routinely monitored for this problem during pregnancy.3

In the study, chocolate was more commonly eaten by the normative mothers during pregnancy than the others (80.7% or 5-15% higher). A control group of women who ate less than 1 serving of chocolate per week was used for comparison.

First trimester intake of chocolate was associated with an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 0.65 (an aOR is a number between 0 and 1, the higher the better). This indicates a likely correlation.

Third trimester intake was associated with reduced odds of preeclampsia, but not conclusively (aOR 0.55) and the study's authors call for more research.

"These findings provide additional evidence of the benefits of chocolate," the study concludes.

This study wasn't the first to examine the positive effects of eating chocolate during pregnancy. One of the study's authors, Dr. Elizabeth W. Triche (PhD) of Yale University conducted a similar study in 2008 focused on preeclampsia.4

It's known from other studies (which these studies cite) that the chemical theobromine is found in cacao-based chocolate. This chemical has many beneficial effects on the heart muscle and blood vessels. In fact, this latest research adds to the evidence already in hand for chocolate's benefits during pregnancy.

This is good news for women everywhere and more evidence of the mounting tsunami of proof that chocolate is good for more than just an occasional treat.

1 - Does Chocolate Intake During Pregnancy Reduce the Risks of Preeclampsia and Gestational Hypertension? by Audrey F. Safftlas, PhD, MPH, et al, Annals of Epidemiology, August 2010

2 - Chocolate lowers blood pressure and slashes risk of heart disease by S.L. Baker,

3 - Preeclampsia, Google Health

4 - Chocolate may reduce pregnancy complication risk Reuters, April 28, 2008

About the author

Aaron Turpen is a professional writer living in Wyoming in the USA. His blogs cover organic/sustainable living and environmental considerations ( and the science debunking mainstream medical and proving alternatives (

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