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Chocolate Lovers, Here’s to Your Health!

Chocoholics, eat to your heart's content. Many are aware that chocolate can be an aphrodisiac, and it certainly tickles our tastes buds, but a new study says it's good for us too!

Plant-derived compounds called flavonoids are found in a variety of foods: fruits, vegetables, tea and red wine. Flavonoids have long been known to doctors for their health benefits, and now, according to a new study, they're also found in some kinds of CHOCOLATE!

Chocolate lovers, such as Cornelia Crystal, are excited. "I eat chocolate almost every day."

Others, like John Sutcliffe, are skeptical. "I can't imagine that eating more is going to help you health wise, but eating some I guess, a little bit at a time is always good for you, isn't it?"

An American doctor conducted the study in Italy. He tested just 20 patients; too few to start writing prescriptions for chocolate, but the results were significant. The patients who ate a bar of "dark" chocolate every day for two weeks had lower blood pressure and better blood flow than those who ate white chocolate, which doesn't have flavonoids.

"What's a flavonoid?"

"Flavonod, it's a component of food, I think with some healthy attributes."

"It's not related to hemorrhoid, is it?"

The patients also showed lower cholesterol levels. The key to dark chocolate is the cocoa, which is rich in flavonoids.

Schakolad is an international gourmet chocolate manufacturer.

Washington D.C. Schakolad storeowner Sam Aboulhosn says he's already noticed the effects of the study on business. "Its funny, since the report came out last week, we've been selling a lot more of the dark chocolate bars. Especially with our fresh dipped strawberries. We offer those in milk, white and dark chocolate and now people are saying, 'Well, I'll get my strawberries, I'll get my fruit intake but I'll also get my chocolate fix.' "

But don't overdo it. The people in the study were only given 3 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate a day - about the size of a bar of soap. And doctor’s say, if you're watching your weight, chocolate may not be the best way to get your flavonoids.