Dark chocolate benefits the heart

by Medindia Content Team on  July 14, 2005 at 7:55 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Dark chocolate benefits the heart
There is good news for all chocolate lovers, as against the general thought that chocolate is bad for health, there comes news that dark chocolate can actually improve heart function.

Athens Medical School, Greece investigated and studied effects of dark chocolate consumption on blood vessel function in 17 young and healthy subjects.

The scientists found that these subjects exhibited a 7 % decrease in aortic stiffness in three hours following consumption. An artery in the arm also dilated significantly more in response to an increase in blood flow.

"Aortic stiffness and elasticity are determinants of cardiovascular performance and are predictors of cardiovascular risk," according to the study. "Improved nitric oxide bioavailability, prostacyclin increase, direct effect of chocolate in smooth muscle cells, or activation of central mechanisms," were the main reasons for this positive effect.

Further investigation is needed to judge long-term benefits of the study.

Source: Athens Medical School

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