Thursday, December 04, 2008

Taking The Benefits Of Dark Chocolate To Heart

(NAPSI)-There's good news for chocolate fans who are concerned about their health. While dark chocolate has come to be recognized for its antioxidant benefits, a new study indicates eating it may also have vascular health benefits.

According to the study-conducted by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center-dark chocolate can have a positive impact on blood pressure and blood vessel function.

The study, which used Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate and Hershey's Natural Cocoa, is the largest of its kind to examine the short-term benefits of solid dark chocolate and cocoa-containing beverages on blood pressure and blood vessel function.

The results of the study, recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that consuming dark chocolate (75g) as well as natural cocoa (22g) lowered blood pressure and improved endothelial function in 45 participants two hours after consumption.

The study's release comes on the heels of Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate, a rich dark chocolate featuring 60 percent cacao, earning renowned health and fitness expert Bob Greene's Best Life seal of approval-the first chocolate bar to earn that distinction.

"Our study demonstrated impressive enhancement of endothelial function following the acute consumption of dark chocolate and cocoa," said David L. Katz, M.D., MPH, principal investigator of the study and director of the Prevention Research Center. "The results are exciting because they show that dark chocolate, a highly popular treat long associated with pleasure, has health-promoting properties as well."

Greene will incorporate dark chocolate and natural cocoa as he helps consumers to develop balanced, healthy lifestyles through his book, "The Best Life Diet," and the companion Web site

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