Good news for chocolate lovers. Scientists have found eating dark chocolate appears to improve the function of important cells lining the wall of blood vessels for at least three hours.
The study, involving 17 healthy young volunteers who agreed to eat a bar of dark chocolate and then get an ultrasound, found that eating dark chocolate seemed to make the blood vessels more flexible, which helps prevent the hardening of the arteries that leads to heart attacks, writes London Free Press.
But experts cautioned that the weight gain from eating a lot of chocolate probably would cancel out the apparent benefit.
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which act as natural antioxidants -- chemicals that combat the damage oxygen does to the body. However, that does not mean that chocolate binges will ward off a heart attack, experts warn.
Cacao, the plant that chocolate comes from, has for centuries been used for everything from medicine to currency. Although enjoyed worldwide, until recently it was considered a treat that provided no substantial nutritional value.
The latest study was conducted by cardiologists at Athens Medical School in Greece and was presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, reports Indianapolis Star.
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