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A. Good News for Chocolate Lovers

Narrator: This is Science Today. Chocolate connoisseurs will be heartened to learn that a clinical study has linked cocoa flavanols found in dark chocolates to improved blood vessel function. Researcher Mary Engler of the University of California, San Francisco's School of Nursing, says for two weeks, study participants ate a flavanol-rich, dark chocolate bar and researchers measured their baseline functions.

Engler: And what we found was that there was at least a two percent increase when you look at the difference between baseline and two weeks between the two groups. And in fact, the ones that had the low flavanoid had a trend to decrease in their endothelial function, whereas the ones who had the high flavanoid had an improved endothelial function, which simply means that their blood vessel was able to dilate more.

Narrator: Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of flavanoids, but consumers can't yet readily measure this content.

Engler: But what is now in process from the USDA, they're analyzing chocolate products, so we're going to have a database that actually has the amount percentage of these flavanoids.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.