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Chocolate may fight liver disease

Dark chocolate can help people with liver damage, scientists have claimed.

Researchers at Hospital Clinic of Barcelona in Spain said that chemicals in cocoa could help reduce high blood pressure in patients with serious cirrhosis of the liver.

Those given less than half an average-sized bar of dark chocolate as part of the study all experienced a significant reduction in raised liver blood pressure.

Professor Mark Thursz, from Imperial College London and vice-secretary of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, said: "This study shows a clear association between eating dark chocolate and portal hypertension and demonstrates the potential importance of improvements in the management of cirrhotic patients to minimise the onset and impact of end-stage liver disease and its associated mortality risks."

The period after eating can normally be dangerous for those with liver problems as it coincides with an increase in blood pressure and flow, which can caused ruptured blood vessels.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver in Vienna.

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