Chocolate consumption can reduce heart disease risk!
According to the findings of a recent study published in “British Medical Journal” chocolate consumption may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 30%. The findings might sound a little familiar as a number of previous studies have shown that eating chocolate has a positive influence on blood pressure, insulin sensitivity (insensitivity can be an early sign of diabetes) and overall metabolic health.
However, these new results should not become an excuse to overconsume, as eating too much of it could, in itself, lead to weight gain, diabetes or heart disease. On the other hand, and as the researchers concluded, given the health benefits of eating chocolate, initiatives to reduce the fat and sugar content of most chocolate products should be explored.
Oscar Franco, of the University of Cambridge in England, and colleagues analyzed the results of seven studies, involving over 100,000 participants with and without existing heart disease. For each study, they compared the people with the highest chocolate consumption against those with the lowest consumption. Five studies reported that higher levels of chocolate consumption were linked to a lower risk of heart disease. And the “highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29 percent reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels,” the researchers said.
The studies did not distinguish between dark or milk chocolate, and included consumption of chocolate bars, drinks, biscuits and desserts. However, less processed, or darker chocolates, will tend to have higher levels of antioxidants, which are the compounds in chocolate that are thought to provide health benefits, the researchers said. In any case, further studies are now needed to test whether chocolate actually causes this risk reduction, or if it can be explained by some other unmeasured factor.
Until then you may eat your favorite chocolate in proper amounts, without feeling guilty!
Buitrago-Lopez A, Sanderson J, Johnson L, Warnakula S, Wood A, Di Angelantonio E, Franco OH. Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2011 Aug 26;343:d4488.
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