Women Who Eat Chocolate Lower Heart Risks
More studies are concluding what we already know, that chocolate is good for you. Yet, don’t get too excited. It has to be good quality chocolate in small servings and only a few times a week.
Chocolate lower women's heart risk
The study from Harvard Medical School states that women who ate an average of one to two servings of high-quality chocolate per week had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure.
Now you might think if one to two servings weekly help 32% of the women consuming this dark luscious candy, maybe one should eat chocolate daily however, senior author Dr Murray A Mittleman said, "Chocolate still comes with a fair amount of calories from sugar and fat, which can be problematic," he further stated, "We controlled for total calorie intake, so that means for women who were eating larger amounts of chocolate, it was displacing other foods that might be beneficial, such as fruits and vegetables.”
It is important to note that in Sweden, milk chocolate has a higher cocoa concentration than dark chocolate sold in the United States. Although 90 percent of all chocolate eaten in Sweden during the study period from 1998 to 2006 was milk chocolate, it contained about 30 percent cocoa. U.S. standards require only 15 percent cocoa to qualify as dark chocolate. This means American chocolate may have fewer heart benefits and more calories and fat for equivalent servings.
Observational studies have shown chocolate is associated with reduced blood pressure, lower incidence of stroke and myocardial infarction (MI), lower incidence of deaths from coronary heart disease, and lower cardiac mortality in patients surviving their first MI, according to background information in the report.
High concentration of compounds called "flavonoids" in chocolate may lower blood pressure, among other benefits, according to mostly short-term studies. However, this is the first study to show long-term outcomes related specifically to heart failure, which can result from ongoing untreated high blood pressure.
"However, despite clinical trials showing the effect of chocolate on blood pressure and the strong relationship between blood pressure and heart failure, no prior studies have examined the association between chocolate intake and heart failure," the authors noted.
"Those tempted to use these data as their rationale for eating large amounts of chocolate or engaging in more frequent chocolate consumption are not interpreting this study appropriately," said Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., R.D., immediate past chair of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee and professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "This is not an 'eat all you want' take-home message, rather it's that eating a little dark chocolate can be healthful, as long as other adverse behaviors do not occur, such as weight gain or excessive intake of non-nutrient dense 'empty' calories."