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Dark chocolate aids blood flow { August 29 2004 }

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   http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2004/08/29/dark_chocolate_found_to_aid_blood_flow/

http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2004/08/29/dark_chocolate_found_to_aid_blood_flow/

Dark chocolate found to aid blood flow
By Reuters | August 29, 2004

MUNICH -- Good news for chocoholics: Eating dark chocolate improves healthy blood flow, according to research published today.

Greek scientists said they had demonstrated for the first time how chocolate improved blood vessels' function, allowing them to dilate and 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 grams, or about 3.5 ounces, of dark chocolate improved function in healthy young adults for at least three hours.

The heart-protecting properties of dark chocolate, which contains high levels of antioxidants known as flavonoids, have been acknowledged for some time. But the latest research sheds new light on how the mechanism might work, protecting blood vessels from damage by unstable oxygen compounds called free radicals.

The Greek study involved 17 health volunteers who ate either 100 grams of dark chocolate or a nonchocolate substitute. On another day the groups switched.

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, Italian and British scientists found plain chocolate increased levels of antioxidants in the blood by nearly 20 percent. Milk chocolate did not have the same effect, possibly because milk interferes with absorption.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company



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