Meta-Analysis Links Chocolate to Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

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Chocolate intake is linked to reduced risk of heart disease and stroke in a meta-analysis of over 114,000 adults.

A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal suggests that chocolate consumption may significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge selected seven studies assessing chocolate intake and heart health conditions in over 114,000 subjects. While type of chocolate, scientific method, and measured outcome varied among the studies, five of the seven studies produced a beneficial association between chocolate intake and heart health.

Compared to those who consumed the lowest level of chocolate products, subjects who consumed the highest level of chocolate products demonstrated a 37% reduction in heart diseaseand a 29% reduction in stroke.

Chocolate’s benefit on heart health is likely attributed to cocoa flavanols, antioxidant-like compounds which have been linked to blood pressure, endothelial function, and even cholesterol maintenance in numerous studies. Still, the presence of fats and sugars in processed chocolate products gives reason for nutritional concern.

Studies included in this recent meta-analysis documented chocolate consumption relating to foods (bars, desserts, etc.), beverages, and nutritional supplements.