WAGENINGEN, Netherlands, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- New research shows that consumption of dark chocolate helps loosen up stiff arteries and prevents white blood cells from sticking to thickening artery walls -- two primary causes of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a type of hardening of the arteries that leads to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
"The effect that dark chocolate has on our bodies is encouraging not only because it allows us to indulge with less guilt, but also because it could lead the way to therapies that do the same thing as dark chocolate but with better and more consistent results," said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal. "Until the 'dark chocolate drug' is developed, however, we'll just have to make do with what nature has given us!"
To hone in on the health benefits of dark chocolate, Dr. Diederik Esser, and his fellow researchers at Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition in Wageningen, The Netherlands, monitored the progress of 44 middle-aged, overweight men, who ate 70 grams of dark chocolate per day over the course of two to four weeks. Along the way researchers took a variety of health measurements, indicators of vascular health.
The study is featured in the March issue of the The FASEB Journal.
[The FASEB Journal]