April 20, 2010
Chocolate For Your Heart

Surely some of my readers must react to my posts about healthful foods with the thought "Oh no, not another food I've got to eat or avoid". Gets to be a burden, doesn't it? Well, sorry, but time for another burden of healthful eating: Chocolate for your heart.

Easter eggs and other chocolate may be good for you at least in small quantities and preferably if it's dark chocolate according to research that shows just one small square of chocolate a day can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. The study is published online today (Wednesday 31 March) in the European Heart Journal [1].

Researchers in Germany followed 19,357 people, aged between 35 and 65, for at least ten years and found that those who ate the most amount of chocolate an average of 7.5 grams a day had lower blood pressure and a 39% lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who ate the least amount of chocolate an average of 1.7 grams a day. The difference between the two groups amounts to six grams of chocolate: the equivalent of less than one small square of a 100g bar.

Dr Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, Nuthetal, Germany, who led the research said: "People who ate the most amount of chocolate were at a 39% lower risk than those with the lowest chocolate intakes. To put it in terms of absolute risk, if people in the group eating the least amount of chocolate (of whom 219 per 10,000 had a heart attack or stroke) increased their chocolate intake by six grams a day, 85 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 10,000 people could be expected to occur over a period of about ten years. If the 39% lower risk is generalised to the general population, the number of avoidable heart attacks and strokes could be higher because the absolute risk in the general population is higher."[2]

I keep dark chocolate in the house just because I know I'll come across research reports reporting benefits. Every time I write a post about the benefits of chocolate I eat some. Sometimes I eat chocolate because I figure somewhere out there some scientists published a report about it but I missed it. Other times I eat chocolate because I figure there are lots of old scientific reports about the benefits of chocolate that came out before I started paying attention.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 April 20 09:48 PM  Aging Diet Heart Studies


Comments
L. said at April 21, 2010 1:45 PM:

Ever since you first reported this (more than a year ago now - I think it was you, maybe not), I have eaten a square of dark chocolate every day. I have no idea if it helps my heart but I certainly feel better for it.

drntbruce said at April 21, 2010 2:20 PM:

Why is it we never hear about this sort of thing in the MSM? Hmmm. Conspiracy!

Martin said at April 21, 2010 2:31 PM:

Reply to L. April 21, 2010 1:45 PM.
The reason you feel better may be due to the amino acid Phenylalanine contained in the chocolate. Phenylalanine is known to affect brain chemical neurotransmitters which may produce a sense of contentment and serenity.

arabella said at April 21, 2010 2:45 PM:

Eating chocolate because somewhere out there some scientists published a report about it but you missed it, reminds me of drinking because "It's five o'clock somewhere." That is one of my mottos, BTW.

BulletMagnetEd said at April 21, 2010 2:47 PM:

Don't forget folks; 7.5g is only a little more than 1/4oz. That isn't much chocolate. So you won't be going hog-wild on Hershey's Kisses or anything :) Everything in moderation... ;)

Dean Peters said at April 21, 2010 3:12 PM:

So once again, science proves Woody Allen's vision of the future portrayed in his 1973 classic 'Sleeper' was spot on!

Harumph said at April 21, 2010 4:05 PM:

Life isn't a contest to see who can live the longest. At some point you have to actually... you know... enjoy yourself. Better to live to 20 eating as you wish than live to 120 eating things you hate. Unless you think the purpose of life is to suffer. Either way we all end up in the ground in a mere speck of time.

And just to show how little government health programs are concerned with ... uhmmm... health... do you think we will ever see them pushing us to eat more chocolate? No they are proposing taxes to make sweets even more dear.

Idiots the lot of them. No chocolate for them! And I hope they all live to be very, very old on their diets of rope and twine.

Lauri said at April 22, 2010 3:40 AM:

Raw cocoa powder actually isn't dark brown. It's light brown. Always when chocolate or cocoa is dark, it means that the cocoa has been heated one or more times in the manufacturing processes. The heating destroys most of the important nutrients in raw cocoa.

And still studies show all the time that even this ruined chocolate is healthy. Chocolate made from raw cocoa powder, beans and oil is far more nutritional/healthy.

flattop said at April 22, 2010 4:45 AM:

People with PKU can't consume phenylalanine. How may they also derive similar benefits?

Herb West said at April 22, 2010 8:43 PM:

Actually, it is Phenethylamine or PEA in chocolate, not phenylalanine.

Kralizec said at April 23, 2010 5:41 PM:
I keep dark chocolate in the house just because I know I'll come across research reports reporting benefits. Every time I write a post about the benefits of chocolate I eat some. Sometimes I eat chocolate because I figure somewhere out there some scientists published a report about it but I missed it. Other times I eat chocolate because I figure there are lots of old scientific reports about the benefits of chocolate that came out before I started paying attention.
I agree with your reasoning, because it means eating more chocolate.
Randall Parker said at April 24, 2010 10:40 AM:

Krazilec, Plus, we have to eat chocolate in response to the future scientific studies that we can expect will tell us even more good news. Get a head start on those studies.

Post a comment
Comments:
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
URL:
Remember info?

                       
Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright