- Published on April 1, 2010
- Written by Lexi Castagna
The article below just came out in the Guardian UK…. sounds like a great reason to go buy a TCHO-A-DAY gift for all your loved ones–and yourself!
The dose in our TCHO-A-DAY (8g/day) is even about the same as that used in the study cited below.
It’s official: Chocolate is good for you
Chocolate reduces the risk of stroke or heart attack by increasing flow of blood around the brain and lowering blood pressure, study finds
Chocolate lovers and those eagerly awaiting Easter eggs, rejoice. Your indulgence means you are less likely to have a stroke or heart attack, especially if dark chocolate is your thing.
New research shows that regularly consuming as little as a square of chocolate a day helps to reduce your blood pressure and thus your chance of succumbing to cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is Britain’s biggest killer.
Scientists have found that people eating just 7.5 grams of chocolate daily were at a 39% lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who ate just 1.7 grams.
The study, published in the European Heart Journal, found that modest chocolate intake had a significant effect on people’s blood pressure. The benefits were more pronounced for a reduced risk of a stroke, but also brought less chance of a heart attack too. Cardiovascular diseases are the UK’s biggest killer, claiming 200,000 lives a year, including 67,000 from strokes.
Researchers led by Dr Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, made the link after studying the health of 19,357 Germans aged 35-65 for at least ten years, including their food intake. They believe that flavanols, substances in cocoa that boost the body’s supply of nitric oxide, contribute to the chocolate eaters’ lowered blood pressure.
The new research confirms an association which other studies have made. The lower likelihood of stroke may be due to cocoa increasing the flow of blood around the brain, the authors say.
Among 1,568 participants whose chocolate intake was tracked 57% ate milk chocolate, 24% preferred dark and just 2% ate white chocolate. The dark variety contains more flavanols, and so is thought to have a greater effect.
However, these findings should not lead to chocolate gluttony, said the authors. “Given these and other promising health effects of cocoa, it is tempting to indulge more in chocolate”. But further research was needed before small amounts of chocolate could be prescribed as part of a diet aimed to prevent CVD.”This sounds like a dream for chocolate lovers and just in time for Easter too, but it’s important to read the small print with this study,” said Victoria Taylor, the British Heart Foundation’s senior heart health nurse.
“The amount consumed on average by even the highest consumer was about one square of chocolate a day or half a small chocolate Easter egg in a week, so the benefits were associated with a fairly small amount of chocolate.”Those tempted to indulge should remember that chocolate contains large amounts of calories and saturated fats, which are related to weight gain and high cholesterol – two risk factors for heart disease. And people should also eat fruit, vegetables and oily fish and be active for at least half-an-hour daily, Taylor added.
“Basic science has demonstrated quite convincingly that dark chocolate particularly, with a cocoa content of at least 70%, reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular and platelet function” said Professor Frank Ruschitzka of the European Society of Cardiology.
“However, before you rush to add dark chocolate to your diet, be aware that 100g of dark chocolate contains roughly 500 calories.