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Study: Eating chocolate at least once a week may prevent heart problems

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 23-07-2020
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Study: Eating chocolate at least once a week may prevent heart problems
Study: Eating chocolate at least once a week may prevent heart problems
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Eating chocolate at least once a week has been linked to better heart health in a study. Its co-author said the findings suggest the food could be good for our blood vessels. To explore the link between eating chocolate and coronary artery disease (CAD), or the build-up of plaque in these vessels that can lead to a heart attack, researchers looked for existing studies relevant to the question. They published their review in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The team observed six studies with 336,289 participants in total: 266,264 from the U.S., 68,809 from Sweden, and 1,216 from Australia. On average, the researchers who conducted the respective studies followed up with their participants after almost nine years. Of the total participants, 14,043 had CAD, 4,667 had experienced heart attacks, 2735 strokes, and 332 heart failure.

Those who ate chocolate more than once a week or 3.5 times a month had a lower risk of CAD than those who never ate chocolate or did so less than once each week. The findings mirrored those of a separate analysis, where the highest and lowest intake of chocolate were compared, that also linked eating chocolate with a lower risk of CAD, the authors said. But the team argued their approach was better.

Eating chocolate may protect the heart thanks to several nutrients, the team said. What are known as flavanols, for instance, have been previously linked to certain benefits. "Overall, the benefits of nutrients in chocolate appear promising and chocolate consumption at least once a week may be beneficial for CAD prevention," they wrote.

But the team said it is important to remember the potential "unfavorable effects" of the extra calories from fat, milk and sugar in certain chocolate products. "Dark chocolate consumption at least once a week (e.g. as a substitute for sugared candy) with overall caloric intake tracking is probably safe," they said.
Study: Eating chocolate at least once a week may prevent heart problems
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