Feature: Food & Living

Heart Studies Suggest Eating Chocolate With Less Guilt?

Author: Martha Shaw
Published: August 30, 2011 at 4:56 pm

"Eating chocolate may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by about one-third, a new study says” according to My Health News Daily. To quote BMJ.com (the British Medical Journal) “High levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a one third reduction in the risk of developing heart disease, according to this systematic review and meta-analysis.” These and other sources are referring to recent reviews which have doctors puzzled, and rightly so. Can there truly be a link between lower rates of heart problems and chocolate consumption? Is it actually the chocolate that is causing those patients included in the study to have lower rates of cardiovascular disorders?

It is true that there has been a link between heart health and chocolate in a number of studies conducted in the past. Recently released information is the result of analysis which focused on seven previously published studies. These seven studies have been reviewed by researchers from Colombia and the United Kingdom seeking to explore this apparent link more closely.

The studies involved 114,000 participants who were asked to record the quantity of chocolate they consumed and the form of chocolate – cookies, candy, etc. Surprisingly, 5 of the 7 studies showed a consistent link between high levels of chocolate consumption and a lowered risk of cardiovascular problems. The review found a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease as well as a 29 percent reduction in stroke among the participants consuming the highest levels of chocolate!

It is important to note that none of the subject studies were funded by chocolate companies or related industries. It was noted in the review that no differentiation was made, in the studies, between the consumption of dark chocolate versus milk chocolate.

It has often been noted that dark chocolate contains higher levels of polyphenols than milk chocolate. These are antioxidants which seem to have a positive affect on the risk of stoke and heart attacks. It has also been suggested that there could be a link between this and more healthy blood pressure as well as insulin resistance.

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Article Author: Martha Shaw

A freelance writer and part time teacher of creative writing now living in Charleston South Carolina, I was raised in MA where my previous career was as a banking professional. I was also formerly a columnist for the Chelsea Weekly Newspaper. …

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