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Healthy Chocolate: Researchers Pinpoint the Source

Scientists at the University of California, Davis have zeroed in on the chemical compound that may make certain types of chocolate good for you. KPBS reporter Beth Ford Roth has the story.

A group of scientists from UC Davis, Harvard Medical School, and Germany studied an Indian tribe in Panama. They looked at the consumption of cocoa drinks by the Kuna Indians, and were able to identify the chemical compound that helped improve their cardiovascular health.

UC Davis professor Carl Keen is one of the researchers on the study.

Keen: "There's many things in cocoa that may be beneficial, but we can now say with some level of assurance that at least one of these very specific molecules which is epicatechin, gives some beneficial effects."

Keen says most chocolate products found in the United States are low in Epicatechin because of the way chocolate is processed. But he suspects chocolate makers will start producing Epicatechin-rich treats once the health benefits are better publicized and consumers start demanding it. Beth Ford Roth, KPBS news.

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