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A tiny helping of dark chocolate could help keep your heart healthy, a study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Cologne studied the effect of a very small amount of chocolate, eaten every day, on the blood pressure of four adults with borderline high blood pressure.

Each participant was given a square of dark chocolate, containing 30 milligrams of polyphenols, every day. The researchers report that the average blood pressure fell, without any increase in weight.

Lead author Dr Dirk Taubert, a University of Cologne researcher, says this fall in blood pressure might be enough for patients to see a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease, but stresses that the study did not go on for long enough to be sure.

Not such good news for the chocolate companies, this one. But it was financed by the University Hospital in Cologne, so that isn't such a shock. The results are reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. ®

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