Within three hours...it'll start to protect your heart.
This is when cocoa begins working like a class of hypertension drugs called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, found researchers at Sweden's Linköping University. The dose: about 2.6 ounces of unsweetened 72-percent-cocoa dark chocolate, which decreased the blood-pressure regulating enzyme (ACE) by 18 percent in three hours. Other research found that by the two-month mark, a daily dose of high-flavanol chocolate led to a drop of 2-to-3 mm Hg in blood pressure, which may translate to an 8 percent lower risk of stroke. While no cardiologist is (yet) prescribing chocolate in lieu of pharmaceuticals, research is ongoing. Chances are, patient compliance would be high.