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Chocolate Recommended for Cirrhosis

Dark chocolate rich in cocoa compounds called flavanols may have a surprising new health benefit. People with cirrhosis of the liver often have increased abdominal blood pressure following a meal. Scientists in Spain report that 21 patients with cirrhosis were given a meal with either dark or white chocolate. Those consuming the dark chocolate had a much smaller increase in abdominal blood pressure. Previous studies have shown that flavanols in dark chocolate encourage the blood vessels to produce nitric oxide. This compound relaxes them and lowers blood pressure. Presumably this is the mechanism behind the reduction in abdominal blood pressure as well.
[European Association for the Study of the Liver, annual meeting, Vienna, Austria, April 2010]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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