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article imageHeart disease, stroke lower for chocolate lovers

By Kathleen Blanchard     Aug 29, 2011 in Health
In a large study, scientists found high consumption of chocolate lowered heart disease incidence by 37 percent. In a study review, the benefit was compared to people with lower intake of the sweet treat.
Scientists found high consumption of chocolate lowered heart disease incidence by 37 percent, compared to people who eat little chocolate.
The finding, say researchers, should be interpreted with caution. Scientists aren't sure exactly how chocolate helps lower the chances of cardiometabolic disorders.
Chocolate also lowers stroke risk
Scientists say it may be from the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in chocolate, which was also found to lower the chances of stroke by 29 percent, compared to people who eat little or no chocolate.
Because chocolate is high in calories, the researchers are interested in seeing lower fat lower sugar options in chocolate products.
For the study, published in the British Medical Journal, Dr Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge looked at seven studies that included 100,000 participants with and without existing heart disease.
Five of the studies uncovered a potential link between chocolate and reduced risk of cardiometabolic disorders.
Lower heart disease and stroke risk was found for the highest levels of consumption of chocolate bars, drinks, biscuits and desserts.
The new study supports the link between eating chocolate for heart health, which might come from chocolate’s ability to reduce insulin sensitivity and keep blood pressure lower.
The authors concluded, “Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders. Further experimental studies are required to confirm a potentially beneficial effect of chocolate consumption.”
The scientists note the importance of diet and lifestyle factors for preventing heart disease, but warn it’s too early to recommend consumption, especially given rising rates of obesity.
Five of seven studies, reviewed from Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, PubMed, CINAHL, IPA, Web of Science, Scopus and Pascal suggested chocolate might keep stroke and heart disease at bay.
Dr. Franco has focused his research on finding ways to prevent cardiovascular disease. The finding is being presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris today.
More about Chocolate, Heart disease, Bmj, Stroke
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