Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chocolate May Benefit the Heart and Reduce Stroke

In case you missed it, I'm happy to report something that should please most everyone.  A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that consumption of chocolate (candies, candy bars, chocolate drinks, cookies and deserts) lowered the rates of stroke, coronary heart disease and blood pressure.  It seems that chocolate is good for you!

The study (which did NOT receive funding from the chocolate industry) included 114,009 people and performed a meta-analysis of the medical literature.  They found that people who ate the most chocolate reduced their risk of heart disease by as much as 37% and their risk of stroke by 29%, compared with those who ate the least chocolate.  Having chocolate regularly, rather than binging, seemed to bring the most benefit.  They did not confirm the difference between dark, milk or white chocolate, nor were they able to say what amount is of most benefit.

Before you run out and eat a chocolate decadence cake or a bag of Hershey's kisses, there are a few caveats to consider.  All chocolate may not be the same in terms of benefit and most American candy chocolate is made with high sugar and dairy fat, not cacao beans.  The extra sugar and fat may probably  reduces the health benefits of pure chocolate.  Pure chocolate has no sugar and no carbohydrates.

A meta-analysis is not nearly as good or reliable as a prospective, controlled study.  It is a review of past studies and a "pooling" of the data to come to conclusions.  Because the studies are not consistent, there is no way to tease out  the "types" of chocolate or even what is mean by eating "higher" quantities of chocolate.  Some trends can be identified, but there is no true cause-effect with a meta-analysis.  It simply points researchers in a direction .  For these reasons, the authors recommended further research to prove (or disprove) that chocolate can actually benefit the heart.

But...until those trials are done, we can take this information and be happy that there "may" be health benefits from eating chocolate.  We already know that fats, sugar and excess calories are extremely health detrimental,  but regular consumption of chocolate with a high cocoa content might be OK.


Raymond Bouchayer said...

Were do you find Dark organic Chocolate ?

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Raymond: Google it. Lots of information and sites.

chrissoup said...

Thanks. Better than kittens.

Nikko said...

like the pasta do you have recipe's for this? also:)

Liz said...

BEST news ever....and whole foods has organic dark chocolate....i know because, well, you can guess.


blinds Atlanta said...

This is the topic of this time...reading several articles in news papers, magazines and blogs as well about dark chocolates and coffee that is good for cardiovascular.

Jacqui MacNeill (Escents Aromatherapy Essential Oils) said...

Excellent! Time to rustle me up some dark chocolate! Makes for a great snack when accompanied with berries too. Thanks for sharing that awesome bit of news. :)

Pearly Home Remedy said...

Chocolate especially dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which serves to maintain heart health. Consuming 100 milligrams of flavonoids found in dark chocolate can make the blood vessels to relax thereby increasing blood flow to the heart.
Really Chocolate is Good for Health especially dark chocolate :)

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