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J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2009 Nov;28(4):482-8. doi: 10.1007/s11239-008-0273-3. Epub 2008 Sep 23.

Dark chocolate: consumption for pleasure or therapy?

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Sezione di Chimica Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Morfologiche, Università di Verona, Verona, Italy.


Traditional chocolate is derived from the cocoa bean, which is one of the most concentrated sources of flavanols, a subgroup of the natural antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids. Accumulating evidence from the past 10 years demonstrates that moderate consumption of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, may exert protective effects against the development of cardiovascular disease. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain this positive influence, including metabolic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, and anti-thrombotic effects, as well as effects on insulin sensitivity and vascular endothelial function. Should these results be confirmed in randomised, controlled, cross-over, multi-dose trials, then the pleasure associated with chocolate consumption might also be justified from health and psychological perspectives. However, since dark chocolate has substantially higher levels of flavonoids than milk chocolate, and milk proteins may inhibit absorption of flavonoids, it might be preferable to consume dark chocolate than the white (milk) variety.

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