Dark chocolate good for heart
Eating a small amount of high-quality dark chocolate one to three times a month can reduce heart failure in women.
Several studies have shown that chocolate intake reduces blood pressure as well as the risk of developing heart disease. To study whether eating chocolate has any effect on the incidence of heart failure, researchers analysed the food habits of 31,823 Swedish women, aged 48 to 83 years.
Over 9 years of follow-up, 419 women were hospitalized for heart failure. They found that women who ate one to three servings of chocolate (20 to 30 grams) a month had a 32 percent lower risk of heart failure, compared to women who did not eat it regularly. The benefit disappeared if one to two servings of dark chocolate a week were consumed, while three to six servings a week raised the risk of heart failure by 23 percent.
The heart benefit of dark chocolate could be the result of a number of factors, including more flavanoids, or antioxidants, that can smoothen heart function.
The study suggests that consumption of chocolate seems to be associated with a lower risk of heart failure, but the protective effect was only seen with relatively small amounts of consumption, less than three servings a month.
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