The experts are claiming that eating dark chocolate in small amounts regularly has the same beneficial effects as aspirin taking has on blood, by preventing the formation of clots.
The team of specialists had started their research with the intention of detecting the effects aspirin has on platelets, which are very small particles in blood forming clumps that finally result in clots. All participants at the study, nearly 1200 adults, were required to refrain from different sweets including chocolate.
However, 139 of those included in the research couldn't keep their hands off the delicious dessert. Researchers disqualified those who admitted eating chocolate from the initial study, but decided to use the data provided by this group for a second study.
The team compared the blood of those who stopped eating chocolate with that of the "chocoholics" and discovered that it takes longer for the second group to develop blood clots.
It was suggested that special compounds in cocoa beans are responsible for the beneficial effect.
"What these chocolate 'offenders' taught us is that the chemical in cocoa beans has a biochemical effect similar to aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, which can be fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, causing a heart attack," explained Diane Becker, one of the researchers.
However, experts warn that eating chocolate in large amounts is unhealthy.
"Eating a little bit of chocolate or having a drink of hot cocoa as part of a regular diet is probably good for personal health, so long as people don't eat too much of it, and too much of the kind with lots of butter and sugar," said Diane Becker.
The findings of the study were presented at the latest meeting of the American Heart Association, in Chicago.
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