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More Cardiovascular Benefits of Eating Chocolate

When I started reading about the benefits of eating chocolate, as you can imagine, I was very skeptical. However, a lot has changed in the past seven years, especially when it comes to small amounts of flavanol-rich dark chocolate and how it can help your blood vessels dilate better.

Athens Medical School researchers have discovered dark chocolate may also have a protective effect on your cardiovascular system at least up to the three hours after you eat it, based on measuring the vitals of 17 patients who ate 100 grams of it.

By the numbers:

  • Resting and hyperemic brachial artery diameters increased significantly (0.15-0.18 mm) during the three-hour period.
  • Aortic stiffness decreased by 7 percent.
  • An artery in the arm dilated more significantly in response to an increase in blood flow.

Despite the growing number of benefits associated with eating dark chocolate, you may still be wondering if it's actually a good idea to do so, especially since you can enjoy the benefits chocolate provides (via flavonols) by consuming fruits like apples and grapes and most all vegetables, including broccoli, greens and onions. If you like chocolate and want to eat it safely, consider these common sense tips:

  • Restrict your intake to dark chocolate, as it has antioxidant properties that can protect the body from damaging oxidative stress.
  • Consume it in moderation.
  • Eat chocolate only if you're healthy.

American Journal of Hypertension, Vol. 18, Issue 6, June 2005: 785-791

Yahoo News June 24, 2005

Food Navigator.com Europe June 28, 2005

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