Dark chocolate protects brain from stroke effects

My friend Dr. Melissa Berry makes these amazing truffles

Dr. Melissa Berry makes these amazing truffles: missionarychocolates.com.

Sweet news from the chocolate researchers: They’re now finding a component in dark chocolate can help protect brain cells when oxygen is cut off by a stroke. The researchers gave epicatechin, found naturally in dark chocolate, to lab animals before and after inducing a stroke. The pretreated animals did much better than their untreated counterparts. Even more interestingly, researchers found the effect even when treating up to 3.5 hours after the stroke; most current post-stroke treatments are only effective if given more quickly. How does it work? It seems that epicatechin turns on two pathways that work to protect brain cells. This suggests that a little bit of regular, high-quality, dark chocolate may be a good defense — and a handy item to keep in the first-aid kit. (Via ScienceDaily.)