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Who does not love eating dark chocolates? Yes, everyone does. So here is some good news for those who love eating dark chocolates.
A new research has found that eating dark chocolates enriched with extra virgin olive oil may boost the "good" cholesterol level as well as lower blood pressure. Both of which are considered to the major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, researchers say.
According to the study, eating dark chocolates with olive oil every day also increases the level of endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) which is important for blood vessel repair and function.
For the study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, the team tested 26 volunteers (14 men, 12 women) with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, dyslipidaemia, hypertension or family history of cardiovascular disease) who received 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for 28 days.
It contained 10 per cent extra virgin olive oil for 14 consecutive days and it contained 2.5 per cent Panaia red apple having high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants for the next 14 days. Polyphenols and antioxidants are known to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis progression and other cardiovascular diseases.
Progression of atherosclerosis was assessed by metabolic changes (levels of carnitine and hippurate), lipid profile, blood pressure and levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs).
After 28 days, the researchers found that the chocolate enriched with olive oil was associated with significantly increased EPC levels and decreased carnitine and hippurate levels compared to both baseline and after consumption of apple-enriched chocolate.
"We found that small daily portions of dark chocolate with added natural polyphenols from extra virgin olive oil was associated with an improved cardiovascular risk profile," said lead author Rossella Di Stefano, cardiologist at the University of Pisa, Italy.
"Our study suggests that extra virgin olive oil might be a good food additive to help preserve our 'repairing cells', the EPC," researchers said.