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Chocolate might lower risk of stroke with once a week intake

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New findings show that chocolate might lower the chances of having a stroke. Researchers compared individuals who consume chocolate once a week to those who do not, finding that chocolate might reduce risk of stroke in a review of three studies.

In addition to preventing risk of stroke, researchers also found that people who suffer stroke but eat chocolate are less likely to die from stroke complications.

The analysis, conducted by St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto is not conclusive, but when reviewing studies, the scientists noted a 22 percent decreased risk of stroke among 44,489 people who ate one serving of chocolate per week.

There was also 46 percent reduced risk of dying from stroke associated with chocolate. When the scientists looked at data from 1,169 individuals who consumed 50 grams of chocolate once a week they found the possible link.

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Study author Sarah Sahib, BScCA, with McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada says it may be that healthier people eat chocolate, accounting for the findings.

Previous studies show that chocolate can lower stress, and decrease inflammation in the blood vessels that can lead to blockage in the arteries. Consuming cocoa has been found to lower blood pressure, making it entirely plausible that chocolate also lowers risk of stroke.

The benefits for stroke prevention from eating chocolate could come from the antioxidants and flavinoids contained in the sweet treat. Past studies show that chocolate has enough other health benefits to make it worth considering - in moderation - as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

More studies are needed to prove that eating chocolate really does prevent the chances of having a stroke. One available study showed no link between reduced stroke risk and chocolate.

American Academy of Neurology