In his study, Lambert said, "we used unsweetened regular cocoa powder. How that relates to chocolate -- there's a couple of degrees of separation. Because when you make chocolate you add fat, in the form of cocoa butter and sugar."
Lambert added, "Nobody's going to eat a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa."
But how will people take their "medicine?"
"It's one of those issues, should you get it in a conventional or fortified product or a supplement?" Ding said. "The dose [of cocoa-flavonoid compound] on average is 400 to 500 milligrams -- equivalent to 32 bars of milk chocolate or eight to nine bars of dark chocolate."
In other new research:
- A study of 30 adults, published in the Journal of Proteome Research, found that eating a small amount of dark chocolate daily reduced stress hormones. This study came out of the Swiss-based Nestle Research Center, run by the chocolate-making company.
- An Italian study concluded that flavanol-rich chocolate lowers blood pressure by 6 milligrams of mercury (mmHg) in systolic blood pressure (the top number) and 3 mmHg in diastolic pressure. "That magnitude of blood pressure reduction would be clinically relevant if sustained, and clearly done in placebo-controlled double-blind studies," Fonarow said.
- A small pilot study from England had people with type 2 diabetes eat high- and low-flavanol chocolate an hour before a meal. Those who ate the high-flavanol chocolate improved in some measures of heart disease risk.
- In studies on rats, researchers in Missouri found evidence that cocoa ingredients soothe excitability of the trigeminal nerve, involved in migraines and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
- One rat study from Spain suggested that cocoa might reduce colon cancer risk by destroying precancerous cells, and another hinted that it offered protection from liver damage, by inhibiting enzymes involved in inflammation.
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more on antioxidants and health.
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