More Mounting Evidence Shows Chocolate Helps Prevent Strokes

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

More Mounting Evidence Shows Chocolate Helps Prevent Strokes

As I’ve long said, chocolate is one of the most surprising heart-healthy foods you can eat. Studies have shown that it can help to lower your blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, a new study adds to the mounting evidence that chocolate can help to prevent strokes in men.

For this study, Susanna C. Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and her colleagues looked at the questionnaire responses filled out by 37,103 Swedish men ages 49-75 during a 10-year study, in which they recorded how often they ate certain types of foods, including chocolate.

Then, the researchers looked at the discharge registry at the Swedish Hospital and found 1,995 stroke cases among the research participants during the decade long span following their completed questionnaires. What they found is that those men who ate the most chocolate (63 grams per week), had a 17% lower number of strokes than those who rarely or never at chocolate.

The same researchers also looked at data from five previous studies, and found that those who ate the most chocolate had a 19% lower risk of strokes than those who didn’t eat chocolate. Plus, they found that for every additional 50 grams of chocolate eaten a week, there was an approximately 14% addition reduction in stroke risk.

It’s believed that the cardiac protection of chocolate, and particularly dark chocolate, comes from its powerful antioxidant flavonoids. They help to improve circulation, control blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and more.

What do these findings mean for you? While it’s interesting to see that increasing amounts of chocolate yielded a lower stroke risk, I wouldn’t use this as a free license to eat chocolate in abandon since it still contains sugar and fat. Instead, I would allow yourself to have moderate amounts of organic dark chocolate—knowing it’s heart-healthy.

Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite type of dark chocolate?

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