HealthDay News — Eating 3.5 ounces of chocolate a day may benefit cardiovascular health in middle-aged and senior patients, according to a report published in Heart.
To examine the association between chocolate intake and the risk of future cardiovascular events, Chun Shing Kwok, MBBS, MSc, BSc, MRCP, of the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a prospective study using data from 20,951 enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort.
The patients were followed for 12 years, on average, during which time 14% were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or stroke. Consuming up to 3.5 ounces of chocolate daily was associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke compared with little or no chocolate consumption, reported the investigators.
The researchers then combined the data with other studies that measured chocolate consumption and cardiovascular disease. The combined pool involved 157,809 people. This analysis produced even stronger results.
Higher chocolate consumption was associated with a 29% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% reduced risk of stroke, compared with lower consumption. Higher consumption was also associated with a 45% reduction in cardiovascular mortality versus lower consumption.
“These people who were high consumers of chocolate tend to be younger and physically more active, they tend to have less diabetes and be less obese,” Phyo Myint, MD, chair of medicine of old age at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, told HealthDay.
“Although we control for these things, we can’t be 100% sure whether we have adequately adjusted for them.”