(HealthDay News) – For individuals with metabolic syndrome at high risk for cardiovascular events, daily consumption of dark chocolate offers a long-term, cost-effective way of reducing the number of cardiovascular events.

Ella Zomer, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues used a Markov model to assess the long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the daily consumption of dark chocolate among 2,013 individuals with hypertension and metabolic syndrome who were at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The treatment effects associated with dark chocolate consumption elicited from published meta-analyses were used to determine the absolute number of cardiovascular events with and without treatment. The costs associated with these events and treatments were examined.

The researchers found that, over 10 years, daily consumption of dark chocolate (with a polyphenol content equivalent to 100g of dark chocolate) was associated with a reduction of 85 cardiovascular events per 10,000 population treated. They calculated that it would be cost-effective to spend $42 per person per year on prevention strategies using dark chocolate. These results represented a best case scenario and assumed 100% compliance.

“The blood pressure and cholesterol lowering effects of dark chocolate consumption are beneficial in the prevention of cardiovascular events in a population with metabolic syndrome,” the authors write. “Daily dark chocolate consumption could be an effective cardiovascular preventive strategy in this population.”

The study was funded by an Australian Research Council linkage grant with Sanofi-Aventis.

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