Sweet Tooth Encourages Healthy Heart

Heart disease reduced with chocolate consumption

(RxWiki News) It's the news that people with a sweet tooth have been waiting to hear! Eating large amounts of chocolate may cut the risk of developing heart disease by a third.

The discovery confirmed a positive finding between heart health and chocolate, though University of Cambridge researchers caution that additional studies are needed to confirm the findings recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology's 2011 Congress.

"Enjoy chocolate in moderation to lower heart risk."

Dr. Oscar Franco from the University of Cambridge conducted the study to evaluate the effect of eating chocolate on cardiovascular events including heart attacks and strokes.

During the large scale review study, investigators analyzed seven studies that involved more than 100,000 participants with or without existing heart disease. For each study researchers compared the group with the highest chocolate consumption against the group that ate the smallest amount of chocolate. Adjustments were made to compensate for differences in the designs of the studies.

Five of the studies found a positive link between eating chocolate and lowering the risk of cardiovascular events. The highest levels of chocolate consumption were linked to a 37 percent decrease in heart disease and a 29 percent reduction in stroke as compared to the lowest levels.

The research did not distinguish between the type of chocolate and included a variety of types including milk and dark chocolate, as well as a variety of types such as candy bars, beverages, biscuits and desserts.

Other recent studies had suggested that chocolate may be heart healthy because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The findings also had indicated that chocolate may reduce blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity, an early sign of diabetes.

Study authors warn about interpreting the study with care since chocolate tends to be high calories and eating too much can lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes and heart disease. They suggested that given the findings, efforts should be made to reduce the fat and sugar content of chocolate products.

The research was published in BMJ.

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Review Date: 
August 29, 2011