A new study medical science offers: Chocolate might be good for you.
Not just any chocolate, and always in moderation, said Mary Engler, a professor of physiological nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing. But her new study does find that biting into the right stuff can make arteries expand, increasing blood flow and thus reducing cardiovascular risk.
Milk chocolate won't do, Engler sressed, because it's, well, too milky. Look for darker chocolates, because darkness is an indicator of high levels of flavonoids, the chemicals that loosen up the arteries.
And this is one instance where good taste and good health go hand in hand, Engler said.
You can tell that a chocolate has a high flavonoid content because "the flavor is so intense and rich," she said, reports forbes.com
According to newkerala.com a group of 11 volunteers were given 46 gms of dark chocolate rich in flavonoids daily for two weeks and compared with a control group of 10 volunteers who were given dark chocolate low in flavonoids.
At the end of the two weeks, the arteries of the group that had eaten the flavonoid-rich chocolate had a greater capacity to expand, up from 10.2 per cent to 11. 5 per cent, compared with a reduction in the control group.
The scientists also collected blood samples from the subjects and found that levels of the flavonoid epicatechin, which comes from the cocoa plant, rose significantly among those people who consumed flavonoid-rich chocolate. "It is likely that the elevated blood levels of epicatechin triggered the release of active substances that vasodilate, or increase, blood flow in the artery," Engler explains. "Better blood flow is good for your heart." Because standard processing methods can destroy flavonoids, not all chocolate is created equal when it comes to potentially beneficial effects, informs sciam.com