The new study, in the prestigious “British Medical Journal,” found that eating high levels of chocolate is linked with a one-third reduction in heart disease risk. The findings confirm results of existing studies that generally agree on a potential beneficial link between chocolate consumption and heart health. The only thing left to know is whether chocolate actually causes this reduction or if there is some other factor at play that is not yet known.
Since heart disease is tied with cancer as the number one killer on the planet, taking small dietary steps to protect yourself is a common sense approach. Chocolate has a positive influence on human health due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This includes reducing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity (helping you avoid diabetes).
Yet, how chocolate affects the heart was still unclear. Hence the new study; a large-scale review of the existing evidence to evaluate the effects of eating chocolate on major events like heart attack and stroke. Researchers found seven studies involving over 100,000 participants, some with and some without heart disease. For each study, they compared the group with the highest chocolate consumption against the group with the lowest consumption.
Five studies reported a beneficial link. The highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in heart disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels. These studies did not differentiate between dark or milk chocolate and included consumption of chocolate bars, drinks, biscuits and desserts.
With the mention of chocolate, we must pay close attention to calories, as it is high in fat. Eating too much chocolate will lead to weight gain, possible diabetes — and heart disease itself. So, in short, you must eat it only in moderation — such as one or two squares a day. Meanwhile, the researchers hope that food manufacturers will explore ways to reduce fat and sugar in chocolate products.
The news was presented last Monday in Paris at the European Society of Cardiology Congress.