(9/5/04 3:05 am)
Dark chocolate helps blood flow: Study|
Dark chocolate helps blood flow: Study
REUTERS[ SUNDAY, AUGUST 29, 2004 03:18:32 PM ]
MUNICH: Good news for chocoholics -- eating dark chocolate improves healthy blood flow, according to research published on Sunday. Greek scientists said they had demonstrated for the first time how chocolate improved the function of blood vessels, allowing them to dilate, thereby preventing the formation of potentially damaging clots.
Dr Charalambos Vlachopoulos of Athens Medical School told the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology that eating 100 grammes of dark chocolate improved function in healthy young adults for at least 3 hours.
The heart-protecting properties of dark chocolate, which contains high levels of a kind of antioxidant called flavonoids, have been acknowledged for some time.
But the latest research sheds new light on how the mechanism might work, by protecting blood vessels from the damaging effects of unstable oxygen compounds called free radicals.
The Greek study involved 17 health volunteers who ate either 100 grammes of dark chocolate or a non-chocolate substitute. On another day the groups were swapped over.
The results showed that functioning of the endothelium, a thin layer covering the innermost surface of blood vessels, was improved in the dark chocolate group but not in the other.
Last year, a group of Italian and British scientists found plain chocolate increased levels of antioxidants in the blood by nearly 20 per cent. Milk chocolate did not have the same effect, however, possibly because milk interferes with the absorption process.