Dark chocolate with a Mediterranean twist?

Dark chocolate

If you like dark chocolate and want to lower your blood pressure, then this might be for you. Scientists from the University of Pisa have found that when olive oil is added to dark chocolate it can improve your cardiovascular risk profile.

Before you turn your nose up in disgust, if you live in the UK then vegetable oil is already added to most chocolate products. You may remember back in 2000 that after a row that started when the UK joined the EU finally British chocolate was allowed to be sold in all EU countries and would be labelled “Family milk chocolate” instead of just “milk chocolate”. Up to 5% vegetable fats are allowed.

But to get back on topic, the scientists were interested in seeing the effect of adding olive oil or red apple to chocolate. Both are good sources of polyphenols.  So they gave dark chocolate that was enriched with either 10% olive oil or 2.5% Panaia red apple to volunteers for 14 consecutive days, after which they were then given the other enriched chocolate also for 14 consecutive days.

Blood and urine samples were taken at the beginning and after the intervention. It was found that among other things, consuming the chocolate enriched with olive oil led to a significant increase in good cholesterol and decrease in blood pressure. Eating the apple enriched chocolate did not have a significant effect.

So there you go. The volunteers were given 60g of chocolate which would be mean 6g of olive oil per day. That is half a tablespoon. I can’t help but feel there might be better ways to consume the olive oil than to put it into chocolate…..

This research was presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference and has been reported widely in the media. Below is the link to the story from the English newspaper The Daily Mail.

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