Everybody likes chocolate, a fact supported by the annual increase in consumption documented by chocolate manufacturers around the globe. This may be good news for many chocolate consumers, but caution is advised to carefully monitor the quantity consumed and the cocoa content of the product purchased. We now have documented evidence to explain how dark chocolate consumption lowers stroke risk in women and slashes heart disease risk in adults.
Researchers publishing the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found high chocolate consumption correlates with a lower risk of stroke in women. Further proof of vascular benefits is documented in the British Medical Journal as scientists explain that chocolate consumption lowers heart disease risk by more than a third.
High Levels of Chocolate Consumption Dramatically Lower Heart Disease and Stroke Risks
A number of recent studies have shown that eating chocolate has a positive influence on human health due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This includes reducing blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity, a primary factor in diabetes development and progression in millions of at-risk children and adults. The World Health Organization predicts that nearly 24 million people will die from heart disease by the year 2030, yet proper diet and lifestyle could significantly lower the mortality rate.
In an effort to confirm past research efforts that suggest a connection between chocolate consumption and lowered risk of heart disease and stroke, Dr. Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge in England analyzed the results of seven studies involving over 100,000 participants with and without existing heart disease. Researchers compared the group with the highest chocolate consumption against those with the lowest, taking into account differences in study design and quality of reporting.
Choose Dark Chocolate with a High Cocoa Content for Optimal Protection
Researchers performing a meta-analysis of all studies examined found a significant correlation between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiovascular events. They determined that the "highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels." Although the final analysis did not distinguish between dark and milk chocolate consumption, nutritional experts recommend choosing dark chocolate with minimal added sugar and at least 75% cocoa content.
There are many documented lifestyle changes that have been shown to dramatically lower the risk of heart disease and stroke including vitamin D optimization, fish oil supplementation and potent antioxidants such as resveratrol. Chocolate eaten in small amounts several times a week can now be added to the list as research confirms the powerful human health benefits of cocoa.