Consuming chocolate once a week can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, according to this large-scale US study.
“Our study suggests that chocolate helps keep the heart’s blood vessels healthy”
As part of this work recently published in theEuropean Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a team of researchers from Baylor College of Medicine of Houston, at Texas, conducted a combined analysis of six studies conducted over the past five decades, exploring the association between chocolate consumption and coronary disease. Covering a total of 336,289 participants who detailed their chocolate consumption, this showed that eating once a week had a beneficial effect on heart health.
” Our study suggests that chocolate helps keep the heart’s blood vessels healthy », Says the doctor Chayakrit Krittanawong, lead author of the study. ” In the past, clinical studies had shown that chocolate was beneficial for both blood pressure and the lining of blood vessels. We therefore investigated whether or not this affected the blood vessels supplying the heart (the coronary arteries). What if this is the case, if this effect is beneficial or harmful. “
During a median follow-up of almost nine years, 14,043 participants developed heart disease and 4,667 suffered a heart attack (when coronary artery disease progresses and blood flow to the heart is suddenly interrupted) .
An 8% decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease
After analyzing this data, scientists determined that consuming chocolate once a week was associated with an 8% lower risk of coronary heart disease. ” Chocolate contains heart-healthy nutrients such as flavonoids, methylxanthines, polyphenols, and stearic acid which can reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol) “, Emphasize the researchers.
However, this work was unable to determine whether a particular type of chocolate was more beneficial and whether there was an ideal serving size. “ Chocolate shows promise for preventing coronary heart disease, but more research will be needed to determine how much and what type of chocolate could be recommended », Specifies the study.
” Moderate amounts of chocolate appear to protect the coronary arteries, but large amounts are likely not to. Calories, sugar, milk and fat in commercially available products should be taken into account, especially in diabetics and obese people », Concludes Krittanawong.
A few weeks ago, another study showed that women who drank two to three cups of coffee per day had lower overall body and abdominal fat levels than those who drank less.