Good News for Chocolate Lovers
This is the kind of research that will bring a smile to chocolate lovers faces.
Chocolate associated with a reduced risk of heart attack
There is good news for chocolate lovers this week with a recently published study in Heart journalsuggesting that regular chocolate consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.
The study found that eating chocolate more than 3-4 times a week is associated with a 13% decreased risk of a heart attack, independent of weight, diabetes and cholesterol levels.
The results were taken from two large prospective studies of over 60,000 men and women in Sweden. All of the participants were free of heart disease at the beginning of the study. Each participant completed a survey that assessed many different lifestyle factors including chocolate consumption. The participants rated the frequency of their chocolate consumption but didn’t specify exactly which type of chocolate they were eating, for example whether it was dark or milk chocolate. Other measures such as weight, cigarette smoking, diabetes and blood pressure were also measured.
Because these factors also modulate the risk of heart disease, the study was statistically adjusted to eliminate their influence on results. The participants were followed for an average of 13 years and rates of new heart attacks were measured.
In addition to this, the authors also conducted a meta-analysis; a synthesis of the highest-quality studies in the field. This also suggested that chocolate consumption was associated with a 10% lower risk of heart disease.
Why it is that chocolate appears to protect the heart against disease is not entirely clear, but the current research suggests that cocoa can make the body more sensitive to insulin (type two diabetes is caused by a resistance to insulin), it can protect the lining of the blood vessels and possibly helps to reduce blood pressure.
Larsson, Susanna C et al. "Chocolate Consumption And Risk Of Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Study And Meta-Analysis". Heart (2016): heartjnl-2015-309203. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.