Chocolate eases leg pain

If you have leg pains when you walk, a study in Italy shows that chocolate may help relieve that discomfort. In some cases, it may help you walk further, longer and with less distress.

A condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD) often narrows the arteries to the legs. Because there is less blood flow, the condition causes pains, cramping and fatigue. That makes it hard to walk.

When researchers at the Sapienza University of Rome fed dark chocolate to 20 people in their 60s and 70s, they found that their ability to walk unassisted improved.

After being fed the dark chocolate, the folks with PAD walked an average 11 percent farther and 15 percent longer than they could before they ate the chocolate.

The improvements were modest at best. But the benefits of chemicals in dark chocolate called polyphenols are “of potential relevance for the quality of life of these patients,” says researcher Lorenzo Loffredo, M.D., who is with the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.

“Polyphenol-rich nutrients could represent a new therapeutic strategy to counteract cardiovascular complications,” adds researcher Francesco Violi, M.D.

The scientists caution that the benefits of the compounds in dark chocolate need to be confirmed in a larger study.


Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.