Dark Chocolate for Heart Disease Prevention
Baltimore, Md. - Even small amounts of dark chocolate might help to prevent the sort of blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes, a finding that researchers say could make the treat a routine part of a heart-healthy diet.
The benefits of a class of chemicals called flavonols, derived from cacao beans, have been emerging from research for decades. But previous studies have been laboratory investigations involving large doses of flavonols -- equivalent to eating several pounds of chocolate a day.
Diane Becker, lead author of a study presented recently, said it is the first one to find a significant effect in people who ate chocolate in amounts that chocolate lovers more typically consume.
"Some dark chocolate looks like it's healthy in small quantities," said Becker, who presented her findings at a scientific meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago ...
Becker is a professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is also a vegetarian and a self-described "chocoholic."
Her understanding of chocolate cravings led to the findings presented recently. They grew out of a much broader study of how genes influence the way aspirin delays clotting time by slowing the activity of blood platelets.