If you like dark chocolate which is 70% cocoa content or more, then you can eat it with the knowledge that you are reducing your risk of heart disease.
Research over recent years has already shown that consuming dark chocolate may help with blood pressure and cholesterol levels and cut the risks of heart disease and stroke. A new study from Scientists at Top Institute Food and Nutrition at Wageningen University in the Netherlands found that consuming dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels, where they produce inflammation. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a role in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
The researchers studied 44 middle-aged, overweight men over two periods of four weeks, as they consumed 70 grams of chocolate per day. The participants were given either specially produced dark chocolate with high flavanol content or well-known dark chocolate which can be found in most supermarkets (both chocolates having similar cocoa content). The study showed that high-flavanol and normal dark chocolate had the same benefits for arterial flexibility and non-adhesion of white blood cells.
“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,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Until the ‘dark chocolate drug’ is developed, however, we’ll just have to make do with what nature has given us!”
The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
D. Esser, M. Mars, E. Oosterink, A. Stalmach, M. Muller, L. A. Afman. Dark chocolate consumption improves leukocyte adhesion factors and vascular function in overweight men. The FASEB Journal, 2013; 28 (3): 1464 DOI: http://www.fasebj.org/content/28/3/1464