Chocolate seems to protect against stroke, according to Canadian researchers as reported by TheHeart.Org.
Investigators reviewed the best available studies and found:
- 22% lower risk of stroke in those who ate about one serving of chocolate per week, and
- 46% reduction in death from stroke in those who ate 50 g of chocolate per week
[These figures are comparisons to those who never ate chocolate.] At least one study found no association between chocolate consumption and stroke and death rates.
Researchers cite the flavonoids and procyanidins in chocolate as the potentially healthy components, along with other antioxidants. Dark chocolate has much more than milk or white chocolate. The underlying studies typically do not inquire as to the type of chocolate eaten.
It’s possible that chocolate consumption is simply a marker for healthy or health-conscious people who have other characteristics that would reduce stroke risk, such as keeping blood pressure under control, exercising, and not smoking.
The evidence for chocolate’s health benefits is not super-strong. People who love chocolate don’t need science to support their habits. The “healthy dose” of dark chocolate—if there is one—is probably no more than 20 g every three days. That’s not much.
Interested in dark chocolate and don’t know how to get started? I reviewed seven brands of dark chocolate at one of my other blogs.
Reference: Jeffery, Susan. Chocolate linked to lower stroke and stroke mortality risk. HeartWire by TheHeart.Org, February 12, 2010.