Study: Eating Chocolate is Good for the Heart
A recent finding, that is sure to delight many of us with a sweet tooth, claims that high levels of chocolate consumption may be associated with a 33% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), confirms existing studies which have explored the positive link between eating chocolate and heart health. While other factors are much more important for a healthy heart, such as exercise and proper dieting, this finding gives a nice reprieve to chocoholics.
Chocolate has great qualities other than a great taste which include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can reduce blood pressure and improve insulin. This may be one reason people enjoy chocolate when they are stressed out. It can actually make you feel better.
Previous studies had found the link between chocolate and heart health but the evidence backing it up remained unclear. Researchers from the University of Cambridge, led by Dr. Oscar Franco, set out to establish the link by carrying out a large-scale review of existing evidence. Previous studies compared two groups of individuals, those with high and low chocolate consumption.
Five studies reported a link between chocolate and heart health. Individuals with the highest levels of chocolate consumption had a 37 percent decrease in cardiovascular disease and a 29 percent reduction in stroke. This is in comparison with individuals with the lowest level of chocolate consumption.
The type of chocolate was not taken into consideration for any of the studies. For example, dark and milk chocolate were not differentiated. Nor were chocolate bars, chocolate beverages, or chocolate desserts differentiated.
The authors of the study caution that people should not take this as free license to consume bucket loads of chocolate. It is extremely high in calories which could lead to weight gain and diabetes. If the fat and sugar content of commercially sold chocolate could be reduced, it would be safer. According to the findings of the study, this is an option that should be explored.
Link to published article: http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d4488