In Brief

Sweet success as chocolate pill hits UK shelves

Tiny tablet could cut the risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia

Life is set to become a little sweeter with the launch of a new chocolate pill that maintains the elasticity of blood vessels - an important factor in the prevention of heart disease, dementia and stroke.

The tablet, called Blood Flow+, is a pure form of cocoa flavanols and has been approved by regulators as a health supplement.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has accepted that flavanols found in cocoa improve the body's ability to transport oxygen and nutrients. These extracts can help produce nitric oxide, which triggers the arterial wall muscles to relax, according to research by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Dr Alf Lindberg, an adviser for research company Cambridge Neutraceuticals, which developed the pill, said: "We believe this is the way forward. There are powerful compounds in many natural nutrients that could help maintain the health of everyone.

"We support the huge amount of research has gone into Blood Flow+ and we are delighted it is the first cocoa flavanol product officially allowed to claim it benefits heart health. Maintaining the elasticity of blood vessels is very important."

Although it might be tempting to use this as an excuse to simply grab a bar of Dairy Milk, you would have to chomp through 400g of dark chocolate, consuming 2,429 calories, to get an effective dose, says the Daily Mail.

And just in case that doesn't put you off, 400g of dark chocolate amounts to 329 per cent of an adult's daily fat intake.

Ian Macdonald, professor of metabolic physiology at Nottingham University, also warns that a chocolate binge will give you more than a sore stomach as eating pure cocoa is not as enjoyable as it sounds.

"You have to mask the taste of pure cocoa because it is so bitter it's unbearable," he said.

Roughly 17.5 million people around the world die from cardiovascular diseases each year, accounting for 31 per cent of deaths across the globe.

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