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Just a Single Chocolate Bar Can Cut the Risk of Stroke by Boosting Blood Flow to the Brain

Update Date: Mar 25, 2013 11:13 AM EDT
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New research reveals that eating just a single chocolate bar can positively affect the brain by cutting the risk of stroke.

While previous studies have showed how eating dark chocolate in moderation could be good for you, the latest study published in the journal Neurology, shows for the first time how chocolate affects blood vessels in the brain.

A new study conducted at Glasgow University measured the speed of blood flowing though the brain's largest artery while participants ate chocolate lying down.  Researchers found that chocolate affected carbon dioxide levels, which boosted blood flow and impacted individual brain cells.

"Consumption of a normal chocolate bar was associated with a change in stiffness of the blood cells," lead researcher Matthew Walters, a professor at Glasgow University, told The Mail on Sunday. "Our data is consistent with a direct effect of chocolate on the brain blood vessels."

"It raises the possibility that there is a direct effect of some component of the chocolate on blood vessels. This is plausible because of the flavonoid molecules contained in chocolate," he said.

"We think a reduction in stroke risk may be caused by chocolate changing how brain blood vessels behave," Walters explained.

Researchers explain that flavonoid compounds are antioxidants found in cacao plants that can help prevent heart disease.  However, other experts warn that the latest findings should be taken "with caution" given that the consumption of high-sugar, high fat foods contributes to the obesity epidemic, according or Professor Tom Solomon of Liverpool University. 

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