Dark chocolate is thought to promote relaxed arteries, also have biochemical effects that may discourage atherosclerosis suggests a report published in the March 2014 issue of the FASEB Journal.

In a randomized, double–blind study, eating dark chocolate—acutely and over weeks—not only improved objective measures of endovascular function, it also improved biochemical markers that reflect leukocyte activation, inflammation, and other signs of atherogenesis.

Changes in endothelial function were reflected in improved flow–mediated dilation (FMD), blood pressure, and augmentation index, while “changes in leukocyte–cell counts, plasma cytokines, and leukocyte adherence markers after chocolate consumption point toward a less–activated state of cellular adherence and, hence, a less atherogenic milieu, according to the authors, led by Dr Diederik Esser (Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Wageningen University, The Netherlands).