The experts wanted to investigate the effect of two active substances present in chocolate known as catechins and procyanidines which are able to reduce the damage oxygen can inflict upon cells.
In order to do so the research team recruited 16 healthy non-smoking volunteers for the study. For two days prior to the start of the study the participants were not allowed to eat chocolate or anything containing similar compounds such as berries.
All participants had a blood sample taken from them both before and after eating 75 grams of unsweetened chocolate which had a cocoa content of 72 per cent.
The results showed that the ACE enzyme was reduced by 18 per cent three hours after the cocoa was eaten, a similar effect to drugs used to inhibit ACE and control high blood pressure.
Drug researcher Ms Persson said: ‘Our findings indicate that changes in lifestyle with the help of foods that contain large concentrations of catechins and procyaninides prevent cardiovascular diseases.’