Dark Chocolate Prevents Damage From Strokes, Study Says


photo: Sara Novak

In the same way that I'm fond of scientific studies detailing the benefits of a glass of red wine, I'm also very open to the benefits of dark chocolate. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that my little vice, isn't a vice at all (in moderation of course).

A study at Johns Hopkins that I read about on Natural News says just that. So what is this new benefit to indulging in some organic, Fair Trade Certified dark chocolate?According to a study published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, dark chocolate can prevent damage from strokes. We already know that the flavanols found in dark chocolate protect the body against heart disease and strokes. but this new study found that dark chocolate can provide protection after a stroke has already occurred. A specific chemical found in dark chocolate called epicatechin appears to do the trick. Lead researcher Sylvain Dore explains:

We gave different doses of epicatechin in mice 90 minutes before a stroke and found that it reduced infarct [stroke damage] size. When we gave epicatechin after a stroke, it had a protective effect up to 3.5 hours later, but not after six hours.

It works by activating certain chemicals in the brain that are known for brain cell protection so that once the stroke happens less damage occurs. The researchers caution that this is only true of dark chocolate, not milk chocolate. The focus should be on the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, the higher the better. When choosing a chocolate bar, go for the good stuff: high quality, organic, and Fair Trade.

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