It’s Friday. So maybe that’s why the words dark chocolate jumped off the computer screen while I was reading my email today. The article’s title is “PAD: Dark Chocolate May Make Walking Easier”. I walk a couple of times a day and mostly don’t find it all that difficult but still if dark chocolate can cure something, I’m willing to see if the symptoms are something I might have experienced so that I can fix it. I’ve never heard of PAD and so who knows I could have it. It turns out that peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.) is a common circulatory problem affecting one in every 20 Americans over the age of 50. The disease develops when plaque clogs your arteries and limits blood to your limbs, usually your legs. The most common symptom is leg pain. Several studies have shown that dark chocolate improves artery flexibility and may help people with P.A.D. walk a little better.
A recent small study of 20 participants showed modest effects from eating dark chocolate over those individuals who ate equal amounts of milk chocolate. The study limited participants to those with intermittent claudication (IC), which impairs blood flow to the limbs, especially during exercise. Only about 11 percent of patients with P.A.D. have IC.
Previous studies showed that dark chocolate enhances the dilation of your arteries. The increase of blood flow to the arteries in the new study was demonstrated to allow patients to improve their walking distance by about 11 percent. What follows is a whole bunch of gobbledygook, which is hard for the layperson to understand, but I’ve linked to it in case you speak that language.
The reality is that walking, kicking the smoking habit and reducing your weight will have more impact on your ability to fix your P.A.D. symptoms but still…chocolate. You could theoretically, of course I’m not a doctor so it is all theoretical…eat a piece of dark chocolate every time you got a nicotine craving or go for a walk and take a piece of dark chocolate with you thereby getting multiple benefits at the same time. And if anyone else out there wants to study the effect of dark chocolate on a body, I’m willing to dedicate my body to science.