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Why Dark Chocolate Boosts Heart Health

In my pursuit of learning all things chocolate I came across a great article on dark chocolate's correlation to heart health.  This leads me to ask the question: Is chocolate healthy and can I now make gourmet chocolate bars a larger part of my diet?  Well, this article from msnbc aims to provide some information claiming that this is so. When it comes to cardiovascular health, traditional "[health] recommendations from experts often include exercising more and eating more whole grains, but perhaps one of the more welcome advances in medical research has been the declaration that chocolate is good for us. Now, new research may help explain why indulging in the sweet treat helps our heart health. 

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Researchers from Linkoping University in Sweden have found that eating dark chocolate inhibits the action of an enzyme nicknamed ACE (formally known as the angiotensin-converting enzyme), which is involved the body's fluid balance and helps regulate blood pressure."

"The results are based on a study of 16 brave volunteers, ages 20 to 45, who ate 75 grams (about 2 1/2 ounces) of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 72 percent. Researchers led by Ingrid Persson, a pharmacology professor at the university, measured the level of ACE activity in the volunteers' blood before they ate the chocolate, and again 30 minutes, one hour and three hours afterward.  Three hours after eating the chocolate, the ACE activity in the volunteers' blood was 18 percent lower than before they gobbled the goodies — a change comparable to that of blood-pressure lowering drugs designed to inhibit ACE."

Does this mean we now have an excuse to eat more delicious chocolate? Well, I'm not an expert, but then again I never needed an excuse.

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