Dark secrets of chocolate

Eating too much chocolate may make you pile on the pounds but researchers are trying to find out if the dark variety might also benefit your heart, lower blood pressure and help prevent stroke.

CVD - diseases of the heart and circulatory system - is the main cause of death in the UK, claiming the lives of one in three people. One characteristic of CVD is impaired blood flow and blood clot formation which are caused when platelets in our blood stick together.

However flavonoids – found naturally in various foods, particularly cocoa – can help prevent platelets from sticking together although it is not known how they do this.

The University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health has been conducting studies to see if and how compounds found in dark chocolate can help protect against cardiovascular disease and improve platelet function.

Scientists from the Rowett Institute will give an insight to their work at Dark Secrets of Chocolate – two Techfest In September LunchBytes events taking place at Aberdeen’s Satrosphere Science Centre on September 14 at 12.30pm and Oldmeldrum’s Meldrum Library on September 20 at 12.50pm.

Dark Secrets of Chocolate is one of a series of free Lunchbytes events organised by Techfest In September which has BP and Shell as its principal funders.

Dr Baukje de Roos, who is leading the research, said: “Our work will not give you permission to eat all the chocolate you want. Sorry!

“It will, however, help us understand how food and food components work together to maintain health and reduce the risk of disease. This is something that we think everyone should be interested in.”