Eat dark chocolate for better blood circulation
FANS of dark chocolate now have one more reason to indulge their sweet tooth.
The European Commission has given premium Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut its blessing to use a health claim - within European Union countries - that cocoa flavanols can "help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow".
The company, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, is believed to be the first in the cocoa and chocolate industry to receive the recognition.
Barry Callebaut was able to prove that the daily intake of 200mg of cocoa flavanols supports healthy blood circulation by helping to maintain the elasticity of the blood vessels, said the company.
The approval was based on evidence presented by the Swiss chocolate maker, using the brand's Acticoa cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
In its research and development, the company managed to retain most of the cocoa flavanols naturally present in the cocoa bean.
Chocolate is a natural product and contains many valuable ingredients. Consumed in moderation, it has its place in a balanced diet.
Australian researchers had previously found that dark chocolate has "significant" benefits for high-risk cardiac patients and could prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Eating 100g of chocolate with a 70 per cent or higher cocoa content every day was an effective risk-reduction measure, according to a study by Melbourne's Monash University, that was released last year.
High-cocoa chocolate is beneficial because it contains antioxidant chemicals called polyphenols, which help keep blood vessels dilated, thereby reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow.
However, experts caution that excessive consumption of dark chocolate leads to obesity, itself a cause of cardiovascular disease.