A Greek study showed that eating dark chocolate has a protective effect on healthy people's cardiovascular system, mainly because dark chocolate rich in flavonoids contributes to arterial dilatation.
Researchers at the Medical College of Athens, Greece, asked 17 healthy young volunteers to eat 100 grams of common dark chocolate sold on the market, and within 3 hours thereafter observed the effects of flavonoids in dark chocolate on the vascular function of volunteers. As a result, it was found that in the case of increased blood flow, eating dark chocolate can significantly expand an arterial blood vessel in the volunteer's arm, and their arterial blood vessel hardness is reduced by 7%. Researchers analyzed that the mechanism may be that eating dark chocolate can expand the medium and small peripheral arteries and arterioles. They reported the results in a new issue of the American Hypertension Journal.
The researchers did not find that volunteers had a change in the level of antioxidants that would prevent hardening of the arteries. They point out that when people rest quietly, eating dark chocolate may increase the body's utilization of nitric oxide, increase the secretion of prostacyclin, act directly on smooth muscle cells, and activate the body's central mechanism. These factors contribute to the expansion of arteries.
The researchers said that the elasticity and stiffness of the arteries are important determinants of cardiovascular function and can predict the risk of cardiovascular disease.