This study adds to a growing body of research supporting the health-protective benefits of polyphenol-rich chocolate.
Researchers found that consumption of dark chocolate containing 860 milligrams of polyphenols (beneficial chemicals found in plants), and 58 milligrams of epicatechin (a compound found in cocoa with antioxidant effects), led to a 20 per cent reduction in DNA damage two hours after consumption. 
They assigned 20 healthy subjects with an average age of 24.2 to consume a balanced diet for four weeks. After two weeks the group was split in two, with one group receiving additional dark chocolate, while the other receiving white chocolate.
Measurements taken at regular intervals after consumption showed that the benefits were seen relatively quickly, with increases in blood levels of catechin observed two hours after consumption of the dark chocolate, and decreases in DNA damage in blood cells.
However, the effects were not observed 22 hours after consumption, leading the researchers to speculate that the flavonoid activity relied on intake from recent food sources, and was related to the kinetics of the flavonoids.
They said "... dark chocolate, habitually excluded by hypoenergetic diets for its high-fat and energy content, is a sweet food that should be reconsidered: if included in controlled amounts, in a weight loss programme it could have healthy effects, and could improve the compliance of patients to diet therapy."
Not All chocolate Is Equal
A study published last year found that just 6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day - just less than half a bar a week - represents the ideal amount for a protective effect against inflammation and disease. Any more than that started to cancel out the benefits. 
Research Paper Details:
Share or Bookmark this page: You will need to have an account with the selected service in order to post links or bookmark this page.