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Dark Chocolate & It's Health Benefits
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"Does dark chocolate really have health benefits"

Researchers have recently discovered that dark chocolate may have some health benefits when it come to treating Chronic fatigue. In preliminary reports provided by Scientists there would appear to be enough evidence to suggest that cocoa and other chocolates may keep high blood pressure down, your blood flowing and your heart healthy. The research, the latest which correlates eating flavonoid-rich foods with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, was presented in February at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting in Boston.

One study found that a substance in cocoa helps the body process nitric oxide (NO), a compound critical for healthy blood flow and blood pressure. Another study showed that flavonols in cocoa prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidizing and clogging the arteries, and make blood platelets less likely to stick together and cause clots.

Flavonoids are plant compounds with potent antioxidant properties; so far, scientists have found more than 4,000 kinds. Cocoa beans contain large quantities of flavonoids, and so do red wine, tea, cranberries, peanuts, strawberries, apples and many other fruits and vegetables. The flavonoids in chocolate are called flavonols. Generally, researchers have found that dark chocolate is higher in flavonoids than milk chocolate but unfortunately the way that cocoa powder and chocolate syrups are manufactured it removes most flavonoids.

In regards to to dark chocolate and Chronic Fatigue Suffers, many specialists up to now have considered chocolate one of a few substances their patients should stay away from. But research may be suggesting that a constituent if isolated may play some beneficial role to assist these individuals in recovery or at the very least provide a health benefit.

Patients in a pilot study found they had less fatigue when eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content than with white chocolate dyed brown. Researchers from Hull York Medical School said the results were surprising but dark chocolate may be having an effect on the brain chemical serotonin. Study leader Professor Steve Atkin, an expert in endocrinology, said the idea for the study came after a patient reported feeling much better after swapping her normal milk chocolate for dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content. He decided to see if other patients would benefit and carried out a trial of 10 patients who received a daily dose - 45g - of dark chocolate or white chocolate dyed to look like dark chocolate for two months.


The patients then had a month off before taking the other type of chocolate for two months. Those taking dark chocolate reported significantly less fatigue and reported feeling more fatigue when they stopped eating it.

Professor Atkin said he was very surprised at the strength of the results. "Although it was a small study, two patients went back to work after being off for six months." He explained: "Dark chocolate is high in polyphenols, which have been associated with health benefits such as a reduction in blood pressure. "Also high polyphenols appear to improve levels of serotonin in the brain, which has been linked with chronic fatigue syndrome and that may be a mechanism."

He added that although more research was needed to confirm the findings, patients would not do themselves any harm by eating small amounts of dark chocolate and no-one in the study put on any weight. "If you derive benefit, then it's a no-harm, no-risk situation."
Jane Colby, executive director of The Young ME Sufferers Trust said it was important to distinguish between ME and other types of fatigue. But a little bit of what you fancy does you good - if it's not doing you any harm and it seems to be helping you then fair enough but I don't think it's an instant cure." She added that people needed to eat chocolate in moderation to ensure they do not put on weight.

Heather Walker, Communications Manager, Action for ME, said: "Wouldn't it be wonderful if eating chocolate every day could alleviate the symptoms of chronic illness? "If it were that easy, there would not be 250,000 people in the UK today whose lives are being been devastated by ME."

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