Want to keep your blood pressure under control? Start eating dark chocolate, scientists say.

It is already known that dark chocolate contains high levels of antioxidants that are thought to be beneficial to health.

Now, a team of researchers in Sweden have revealed that dark chocolate works on the body in the same way as blood pressure pills.

They discovered that dark chocolate, which contains large amounts of cocoa, inhibits an enzyme that raises blood pressure.

Study’s lead author Ingrid Persson said that it contains high levels of compounds called catechins and procyanidines, both of which have been shown to affect blood pressure.

She added that with other factors such as a balanced diet and not smoking, dark chocolate could be a good way to lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

In the study, 10 men and six women had blood samples taken before and after eating 75 grams of dark chocolate – a large piece. Within three hours, the team saw that a blood pressure enzyme known as ACE had been inhibited by up to 18 per cent.

This is as effective as ACE inhibitor drugs currently given to the millions of patients with high blood pressure.

“We have previously shown that green tea inhibits the enzyme ACE, which is involved in the body’s fluid balance and blood pressure regulation,” the Daily Express quoted Perrson as saying.

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