Time once again to remind you that you can make the excuse that you are only eating chocolate for your health. Less risk from heart attack or stroke for regular chocolate eaters.
High levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a one third reduction in the risk of developing heart disease, finds a study published on bmj.com today.
The findings confirm results of existing studies that generally agree on a potential beneficial link between chocolate consumption and heart health. However, the authors stress that further studies are now needed to test whether chocolate actually causes this reduction or if it can be explained by some other unmeasured (confounding) factor.
The meta-analysis looked at 7 studies and found the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with about a third less heart attack and stroke.
However, the evidence about how eating chocolate affects your heart still remains unclear. So, Dr Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge carried out a large scale review of the existing evidence to evaluate the effects of eating chocolate on cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.
They analysed the results of seven studies, involving over 100,000 participants with and without existing heart disease. For each study, they compared the group with the highest chocolate consumption against the group with the lowest consumption. Differences in study design and quality were also taken into account to minimise bias.
Five studies reported a beneficial link between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiovascular events and they found that the "highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels." No significant reduction was found in relation to heart failure.
Also see my recent posts Chocolate Compound Epicatechin Boosts Exercise Benefit and Cocoa Flavanols Improve Artery Dilation In Heart Patients. Also, chocolate and massage both lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
You are better off eating dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate to get the flavonoids or other beneficial compounds in chocolate in more concentrated form.
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