Researchers are planning a new study to find out whether flavanols found in dark chocolate can help check heart attacks and strokes.
Dr JoAnn Manson, one of the study's lead researchers, said previous studies have showed that cocoa flavanols are effective in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The study will basically try to find out the effect of only bio-active nutrients found in the cocoa bean without sugar which is usually present in chocolate candies. The study will analyse data of 18,000 men and women.
Participants at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research in Seattle will get dark chocolate pills that contain 750 milligrams of cocoa flavanols which are naturally found in chocolate.
"You're not going to get these protective flavanols in most of the candy on the market. Cocoa flavanols are often destroyed by the processing," said Manson.
The study will last for four years when each participant in a day will get two capsules of the cocoa flavanols. The pills will be coated and will have no taste.
The study is sponsored by Mars Inc., which manufactures M&M's and Milkyway bars, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
CocoaVia is cocoa extract capsule containing 250 mg of flavanols, manufactured by Mars Inc, and is already available in the market. The company has patented a method to get flavanols from cocoa in high concentration and sell them in capsule form.