Daily Chocolate Linked to Cardiovascular Benefits

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Daily Chocolate Linked to Cardiovascular Benefits
Daily Chocolate Linked to Cardiovascular Benefits

(HealthDay News) — Middle-aged or older individuals who eat as much as 3.5 ounces of chocolate a day may receive cardiovascular benefits, according to a report published online June 15 in Heart.

The research team mainly based the findings on 20,951 adults taking part in a study that is tracking the impact of diet on the long-term health of men and women in Norfolk, U.K. Participants were monitored for nearly 12 years, on average, during which time 14 percent were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or stroke. The researchers found that up to 3.5 ounces of daily chocolate consumption was associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke compared to little or no chocolate consumption.

The researchers then combined the data with other studies that measured chocolate consumption and cardiovascular disease. The combined pool involved 157,809 people. This analysis produced even stronger results. Higher chocolate consumption was associated with a 29 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21 percent reduced risk of stroke, compared with lower consumption. Higher consumption was also associated with a 45 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality versus lower consumption.

The researchers noted that those who ate chocolate tended to be in better health. "These people who were high consumers of chocolate tend to be younger and physically more active, they tend to have less diabetes and be less obese," study coauthor Phyo Myint, M.D., chair of medicine of old age at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, told HealthDay. "Although we control for these things, we can't be 100 percent sure whether we have adequately adjusted for them."

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