A Sweet Truth

That chocolate treat may be good for your heart, study finds

In a study that's sure to be popular with chocolate lovers everywhere, researchers from the University of California, Davis have found that chocolate may be as healing for the heart as aspirin, reports this wire service story from Toronto's C-Health.

Chocolate and cocoa contain flavonoids, according to the researchers. Flavonoids help promote healthy cell growth, and are usually found in fruits and vegetables.

"It turns out the flavonoids are very, very high (in chocolate and in cocoa)," says one of the study's authors, Carl Keen, a professor of nutrition and internal medicine. Higher even than the amounts found in most fruits and vegetables, Keen says. But, he says, that makes perfect sense because chocolate comes from a plant.

In the study, cocoa slowed blood clotting and the rate at which platelets clump together. This is important because when platelets clump, pieces can break off into the blood stream, and these clots can cause heart attacks and strokes.

Does this mean it's OK to go on an all-out chocolate binge? Not so fast, says this article from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Chocolate can be part of a varied diet. But, the article cautions, eating too much chocolate can cause obesity, which is a known risk for heart disease.

Consumer News