You may already know that dark chocolate (sorry, not milk chocolate or white chocolate) has many proven health benefits. Several scientific studies show that dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate also contains powerful antioxidants, which are known to obliterate those nasty free radicals that are implicated in heart disease.
But wait! There’s more!
Now, individuals who suffer from peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.) may have even more reason to jump on the dark chocolate bandwagon.
A recent article published in the Journal of the American Heart Association by a group of Italian physicians and researchers shows a potential promising finding. The study found a positive relationship between dark chocolate consumption and walking autonomy in patients diagnosed with peripheral artery disease.
PAD is a circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels – due to fatty deposits and calcium buildup – reduce blood flow to the limbs. Symptoms include leg pain, especially when walking. More than 20 percent of adults aged 70 and older living in Western countries are afflicted with PAD. The condition is often a result of aging, diabetes, and smoking.
Study participants who received 40 grams of dark chocolate (about half of a regular-sized bar) prior to walking a certain distance were found to have the ability to walk further AND for a longer period of time. Researchers determined the dark chocolate caused artery dilation, thereby relieving PAD symptoms and enabling participants to walk more comfortably.
Consumption of milk chocolate prior to walking did not have an effect on walking distance or walking time, according to the study.
Is this an excuse to eat dark chocolate (in moderation, of course!)?
You heard it here first, from your friends at Lam Vascular & Associates.