Dark chocolate has been found to have a direct effect on the cells that line the veins and could help to reduce heart disease, said The Telegraph yesterday.

Tests revealed that eating 100 grams of good quality dark chocolate improved the function of the endothelial cells in the arteries of young adults for up to three hours after they had eaten it.

The cells make up a thin layer that cover the interior surface of all the body’s blood vessels.

Chocolate is also considered to be beneficial as it is rich in flavonoids, anti-oxidants that battle against naturally-occurring dangerous chemicals in the body.