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Dark chocolate boosts blood vessel function

BEIJING, March 26(Xinhuanet) -- Dark chocolate is good for the arteries as it helps facilitate blood flow, a new study in U.S. has found.

Yale University Research, presented at the annual convention of the American College of Cardiology on Sunday, indicated that flavonoids, a group of antioxidant compounds found in fruit and vegetables, play an important health role.

Studies indicated there is a strong correlation between the consumption of foods rich in flavonoids such as wine, green tea, fruit and vegetables and the fight against cardiovascular disease, the study said.

Cocoa or dark chocolate products are considered one of the most concentrated sources of flavonoids among commonly consumed foods.

While the researchers cautioned against bingeing on bon bons, they said the findings of the trial were clear and called for larger such studies to confirm the results.

"In this sample of healthy adults, dark chocolate ingestion over a short period of time was shown to significantly improve (blood vessel) function," said Dr. Valentine Yanchou Njike of Yale Prevention Research Center, a co-investigator of the study.

Researchers examined 45 people from Connecticut state, who were randomly assigned to three consumption groups.

Their members received daily eight ounces of either cocoa without sugar, cocoa with sugar, or placebo for six weeks.

Cocoa was considered a successful vehicle to improve endothelial function in this trial, the study said.

The 39 subjects who completed study saw these results: unsweetened cocoa improved the function of blood vessels by 2.4 percent, while sweetened cocoa improved blood vessel function by 1.5 percent. The placebo decreased function by 0.8 percent.

"While the findings from this study do not suggest that people should start eating more chocolate as part of their daily routine, it does suggest that we pay more attention to how dark chocolate and other flavonoid-rich foods might offer cardiovascular benefits," said Valentine Yanchou Njike, one of the leading researchers.



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