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Chocolate may keep the heart running longer and stronger

Chocolates – perhaps the world’s favourite confectionery – may keep the heart running longer and stronger.

Chocolate contains chemicals like those in red wine and green tea that can help improve circulation, cut blood pressure and might produce other health benefits, researchers told the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.

Dr Norman Hollenberg of Harvard Medical School said he found cocoa was effective in lowering the blood pressure in his study of the isolated Kuna Indians who live on islands off the coast of Panama.

Despite a high salt diet, the Kuna have normal blood pressure, he explained, and they consume large quantities of locally grown cocoa. When Kuna moved to a city and switched to commercial cocoas with fewer of the chemicals their blood pressure tended to rise, he noted.

Hollenberg said early research indicated that cocoa could help increase blood flow in the brain and the extremities, which could prove beneficial to the elderly and diabetics.


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