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No. of Recommendations: 3
I would add that there seems to be emerging evidence that, in small quantities, dark chocolate is healthful. http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20030827/dark-chocolate-is-he......

At this point, it's gone significantly beyond "emerging" evidence. That WebMD piece was written in August 2003. There's been a ton of increasingly supportive research in the past decade. Type "dark chocolate" into MedLine.

Here are a few Abstract excerpts from the most recent papers to give the "flavor" of findings.

Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov 25:1-9. [Epub ahead of print]
Effects of dark chocolate and cocoa consumption on endothelial function and arterial stiffness in overweight adults.


In summary, the acute consumption of cocoa increased resting BP by 4 mmHg. In summary, the high-flavanol cocoa and dark chocolate treatment was associated with enhanced vasodilation in both conduit and resistance arteries and was accompanied by significant reductions in arterial stiffness in women.

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Nov;16(6):662-8. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283659a51.
Protective effects of dark chocolate on endothelial function and diabetes.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Relationship between cocoa consumption and cardiovascular disease, particularly focusing on clinical implications resulting from the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption on endothelial function and insulin resistance. This could be of clinical relevance and may suggest the mechanistic explanation for the reduced risk of cardiovascular events reported in the different studies after cocoa intake.

RECENT FINDINGS: Increasing evidence supports a protective effect of cocoa consumption against cardiovascular disease. Cocoa and flavonoids from cocoa have been described to improve endothelial function and insulin resistance. A proposed mechanism could be considered in the improvement of the endothelium-derived vasodilator nitric oxide by enhancing nitric oxide synthesis or by decreasing nitric oxide breakdown.

SUMMARY: The endothelium plays a pivotal role in the arterial homeostasis, and insulin resistance is the most important pathophysiological feature in various prediabetic and diabetic states. Reduced nitric oxide bioavailability with endothelial dysfunction is considered the earliest step in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Further, insulin resistance could account, at least in part, for the endothelial dysfunction. Endothelial dysfunction has been considered an important and independent predictor of future development of cardiovascular risk and events. Cocoa and flavonoids from cocoa might positively modulate these mechanisms with a putative role in cardiovascular protection.

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Sep 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Dark chocolate reduces endothelial dysfunction after successive breath-hold dives in cool water.


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to observe the effects of dark chocolate on endothelial function after a series of successive apnea dives in non-thermoneutral water.

CONCLUSION: Antioxidants contained in dark chocolate scavenge free radicals produced during breath-hold diving. Ingestion of 30 g of dark chocolate 1 h before the dive can thus prevent endothelial dysfunction which can be observed after a series of breath-hold dives.

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Aug;17(16):2257-66.
Effects of dark chocolate in a population of normal weight obese women: a pilot study.


BACKGROUND: Normal weight obese (NWO) syndrome is defined as an excessive body fat associated with a normal body mass index and characterized by a higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Recent studies have demonstrated that dark chocolate (DC) has beneficial effects in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that regular consumption of DC could be useful in maintaining a good atherogenic profile, due to the favourable effects on HDL cholesterol, lipoprotein ratios and inflammation markers.

=sheila
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