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Hooray! Chocolate is actually good for your heart (in moderation)

People who eat more chocolate are less likely to suffer heart disease and strokes, according to a new academic review.

Jealous much?
Jealous much?
Image: sukiweb via Flickr

CHOCOLATE MAY BE good for your heart, and make you less likely to suffer from strokes, heart disease or diabetes, a new academic review has cautious found.

There’s just one catch: you can only eat it in moderation.

A review carried out by scientists at the University of Cambridge, published by the British Medical Journal, had intended to try and find out whether the link – previously proven only by anecdotal evidence – stood up to scientific scrutiny.

The research combined the findings of seven studies, each of which involved more than 100,000 test subjects, and each comparing the rate of heart disease among those who ate larger or smaller amounts of chocolate on a regular basis.

Their finding was that in five of the seven studies, chocolate in any form – whether in drinking chocolate, biscuit or simple bar format – coincided with a smaller risk of suffering from heart problems or other medical issues.

The review concluded that while chocolate does not improve the health of a heart (and, incidentally, has not effect on the rate of heart failure), it does at least make a chocolate eater less likely to suffer from ill-health.

Specifically, eating chocolate reduced the risk of any heart disease by 37 per cent, the risk of diabetes by 31 per cent, and the risk of stroke by 29 per cent.

The various studies included were unable to discern, however, exactly why chocolate had the effects it did. They also failed to examine the relative effects of milk, white and dark chocolate on each case.

“Although over-consumption can have harmful effects, the existing studies generally agree on a potential beneficial association of chocolate consumption with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders,” it concluded.

“Corroboration is now required from further studies, especially experimental studies to test causation rather than just association.”

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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