BALTIMORE, May 7 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say dark chocolate may help guard against brain injury after a stroke.
Researchers Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions found modest amounts of a compound in dark chocolate — epicatechin — helped protect up to 3.5 hours against the brain damage caused when blood supply was cut off to the brains of mice.
The study, published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, suggested epicatechin helped jump start two previously well-established pathways known to shield brain nerve cells from damage. In mice lacking these pathways, the epicatechin did not prevent brain cells from dying.
Study leader Sylvian Dore said his research was not a free pass to eat large amounts of chocolate, which is high in calories and fat — and reminded people to eat a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Dore also said the epicatechin in dark chocolate is extremely sensitive to changes in heat and light.
“In the process of making chocolate, you have to make sure you don’t destroy it,” Dore said in a statement.
“Only few chocolates have the active ingredient. The fact that it says ‘dark chocolate’ is not sufficient.”
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