Eating a small amount of good quality dark chocolate could help to reduce the risk of strokes, it has been claimed.
Researchers at John Hopkins University in Maryland came to the conclusion after feeding mice with a modest dose of epicatechin, which is found in dark chocolate.
They then induced an ischemic stroke by cutting off blood supply to their brains.
Afterwards, they found that the mice that had ingested the compound suffered significantly less brain damage than those that had not.
Dr Sharlin Ahmed, research liaison officer at the Stroke Association, said the research is encouraging, but insisted that further trials need to be carried out.
"There is evidence to suggest that dark chocolate increases levels of good cholesterol and decreases blood pressure, which are both risk factors for stroke," she remarked.
However, she insisted that the treat must be consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
"We recommend that people follow a healthy diet low in saturated fat and salt and exercise regularly," Dr Ahmed added.