Scientists Now Know Why Dark Chocolate Helps Heart

For those of you who love chocolate and can tolerate the caffeine, this has to be good news.

New research suggests dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries and prevents white blood cells from sticking to blood vessel walls. Arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play an important role in atherosclerosis.

“We provide a more complete picture of impact of chocolate consumption in vascular health and show that increasing flavanol content has no added beneficial effect on vascular health,” researcher Diederik Esser,Ph.D, Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Wageningen University, was quoted as saying.

For the study, researchers analyzed 44 middle-aged overweight men for four weeks as they consumed 70 grams of chocolate per day. The participants received either dark chocolate, with high flavanol content, or regular chocolate and were told to refrain from energy dense foods. Researchers then measured important indicators of vascular health and also collected motivation scores of participants to eat the chocolate.

“The effect that dark chocolate has on our bodies is encouraging not only because it allows us to indulge with less guilt, but also because it could lead the way to therapies that do the same thing as dark chocolate but with better and more consistent results," Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, was quoted as saying.

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SOURCE: The FASEB Journal, February 2014

So, happy indulging, just don't eat it all at once.