I love research that confirms the value of chocolate. Dark chocolate is my favorite, by the way, and a recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2008) by researchers from Yale gives the nod to dark chocolate as improving endothelial cell function and reducing blood pressure in overweight adults.
For those of you who took biology many moons ago (or never), endothelial cells are critical to healthy vascular function and also play a vital role in the health and integrity of every tissue of the body!
The Yale study compared ingestion of 22 grams of dark chocolate -- either in solid dark chocolate bar form or in a drink form -- and included comparison of chocolate bars and drinks with and without sugar.
The good news? Dark chocolate bars and cocoa drinks were both associated with increasing endothelial cell function and reducing blood pressure. Sugar-free forms, incidentally, significantly boosted the health benefits of chocolate.
Yeah for chocolate, especially sugar-free forms! :-)