These volunteers will be encouraged to eat 50gm of chocolate every day for eight weeks as part of the new study to discover if a high fruit and vegetable diet incorporating dark chocolate and berries is better for the cardiovascular system than a diet low in fruit and vegetables.
Doctor Pascal McKeown who is leading the study stated that the important thing is that the chocolate being used will be high in cocoa as standard milk chocolate has nothing like the polyphenol content of dark chocolate.
Half the group of volunteers will be put on an ordinary UK diet which shows that most people tend to include only two portions of fruit and vegetables daily. The other half will be encouraged to eat six portions of fruit and vegetables along with a portion of berries each day, topped of with 50gms of dark chocolate.
At the start and end of the first eight weeks, the volunteers on chocolate will have their blood vessels examined and the level of stickiness to determine whether a diet rich in polyphenols can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
The Chief Executive of Northern Irelands Heart & Stroke said, “ The example of high quality research has the potential to benefit the people of Northern Ireland, but also has applications further a field. We hope it will provide a solid evidence base for fine tuning the government advise on healthy eating.”
The funding of £32,000 for the project has been provided by North Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke with Doctor Rebecca Noad securing a Fellowship Award from the Department of Health’s Research and Development Office.