The researchers observed the platelets of a group of people, initially analyzing the effects of aspirin on the tiny particles in the blood, which can stick to each other and form clots, thereby causing a heart attack or stroke. The participants were told to give up chocolate for the study, but 139 were unable to do so and continued their chocolate consumption.
The scientists rolled with the issue and compared the blood of those who did not give up chocolate to those who did and found that the chocoholics' platelets clotted at 130 seconds when outside the body, whereas the other participants blood clotted at 123 seconds. The scientists concluded that chemicals in the cocoa -- possibly flavonoids -- were having a blood-thinning effect akin to aspirin.
The researchers said that people could benefit from eating a bit of dark chocolate or a chocolate drink every day. They stressed that it was important to make sure the sugar and butter content of the chocolate was minimal, and the ideal serving size would be about two tablespoons daily.
"This study just goes to show that chocolate can help prevent blood clots as well as over-the-counter drugs, only without any harsh side effects like stomach deterioration," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams, adding, "People who want to enjoy the benefits of chocolate without the harmful processed sugars and milk fats should check out raw cacao nibs."