Study Supports Chocolate Antioxidants for Arterial Health

February 7, 2011

Researchers at several universities across the United States analyzed data from food frequency questionnaires of 2217 subjects involved in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study.

A large cohort study on chocolate consumption suggests that chocolate’s antioxidants might help maintain healthy arteries.

Researchers at several universities across the United States analyzed data from food frequency questionnaires of 2217 subjects involved in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Family Heart Study.

Rate of chocolate consumption was assessed from each patient as zero, one-to-three servings per month, one serving per week, or two-plus servings per week. Healthy arteries were assessed by rate of calcified atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries (CAC), as measured by cardiac computer tomography.

Using non-eaters of chocolate as a baseline, the researchers concluded that those who ate one-to-three servings per month had a 6% reduced CAC. For once-a-week chocolate eaters, a 22% reduction was observed, and consuming chocolate at least twice per week was associated with a 32% reduced CAC.

“These data suggest that chocolate consumption might be inversely associated with prevalent CAC,” wrote the study’s lead author. Results of this chocolate study are available in the February issue of the journal Clinical Nutrition.