Researchers believe natural compounds in chocolate called flavonoids boost blood vessel health and help reduce inflammation. ©M.STUDIO - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

It’s a guilty pleasure we’re told to avoid. But occasionally tucking into a bar of chocolate may actually be good for us, research suggests.
Scientists found moderate consumption of up to three bars a month cut a person’s risk of heart failure by 13%.

Researchers believe natural compounds in chocolate called flavonoids boost blood vessel health and help reduce inflammation.

But they urged moderation, as the sugar and fat means those who eat chocolate daily increase their risk by 17%. Dark chocolate, which has the most flavonoids and least sugar, is the most healthy.

Dr Chayakrit Krittanawong, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said: “Chocolate is an important dietary source of flavonoids which are associated with reducing inflammation and increasing good cholesterol and can increase nitric oxide (a gas that widens blood vessels and boosts circulation).”

The research, presented at the Munich conference, looked at five studies involving more than 575000 participants.