Dark chocolate is known for its health benefits including lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure etc, but a recent study found that any type of chocolate can protect the body’s cardiovascular system from various sorts of health problems.
The new study involved about 25,000 participants aged 39 to 70, who were surveyed about their chocolate eating habits, while their medical records were checked for cardiovascular disease history.
Surprisingly, the group that ate a lot of chocolate (from 15 to 100 grams per day) were less likely to develop a heart disease or have a stroke than their peers that didn’t indulge in the confection.
The findings remained statistically significant even after they were adjusted for level of activity, substance abuse, sex, age, and other risk factors.
Prof Phyo Myint from University of Aberdeen’s School of Medicine explained that we need not worry if we are eating chocolate “moderately” regardless of its fat and calorie content.
One hundred grams of the delicious product account for about 550 calories. The USDA suggests men should eat between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day depending on their BMI, level of activity, weight, and height.
Scientists also found that high levels of chocolate consumption were linked to other health benefits such as lower blood pressure, BMI, and harmful proteins that trigger inflammatory processes.
Chocolate lovers were 11 percent less likely to develop a heart disease and 25 percent less likely to die of that disease than people who ate no chocolate at all. Researchers reported that the majority of study participants preferred milk chocolate to dark chocolate. So the chocolate’s protective role may apply to both types.
The research team acknowledged that the findings were a big surprise because they were absolutely sure that the health benefits could only apply to dark chocolate, not milk chocolate.
But they soon realized that any type of chocolate is a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants which protect the inner lining of the blood vessels. Antioxidants also rein the bad cholesterol and boost the level of good cholesterol. Moreover, the nuts contained in some chocolate products further helped participants to protect their heart and circulatory system.
On the other hand the study has some limitations. First, most study participants were Caucasian. Second, some people who reported that they ate a large amount of chocolate on a daily basis said they had “worse outcomes” than when they avoided the product.
Researchers from the New York University who were not involved in the study said that the research didn’t provide a clear cause-and-effect relationship between chocolate consumption and health benefits. Also, the participants who had better heart health probably ate other foods as well that had a protective role for their heart, NYU researchers noted.
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