Got Chocolate? Study Shows It’s Heart Healthy

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Got Chocolate? Study Shows It’s Heart Healthy

Contributed by William Angelos| 16 November, 2006 04:31 GMT

A daily dose of dark chocolate may help reduce the risk of blood clotting, suggests new research. A team of John Hopkins University scientists led by Professor Diane Becker studied the effects of chocolate on platelets, tiny particles in blood that stick together.

Platelets can form clumps that eventually turn into clots. This condition can cause blockage in blood vessels that ultimately can lead to a heart attack. The typical preventive treatment is aspirin, which thins the blood.

Investigating the effect of chocolate on platelets was not the original purpose of the study; it was designed to analyze the effect of aspirin. However, some of the participants did not stop eating chocolate as they were instructed to do.

The scientists decided to take advantage of the aberration by comparing the blood of those who quit eating chocolate to the blood of those who did not. They found that the chocoholics’ platelets took longer to clot.

Chemicals in cocoa called “flavonoids” have an effect similar to that of aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, the researchers concluded.

And dark chocolate is said to contain more flavonoids than any other food — including green tea, black tea, red wine and blueberries.

Two tablespoonfuls of dark chocolate a day — with minimal sugar and butter — could be enough to keep clotting problems at bay, the scientists suggested.