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Chocolate! Need I say more? According to Tinyprints.com “the average American eats 10-12 pounds of chocolate a year. The average Swiss eats 21 pounds a year.” Because Americans love their chocolate any medical studies on chocolate are always of interest. Today’s blog will look at research presented at Europe’s largest medical conference concerning the benefits or detriments of eating chocolate for cardiovascular health.
What I like about this research is that it is tempered in its findings. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, does have health promoting properties called flavonols, which have been shown to reduce cardiovascular risks. This is of course a benefit for chocolate lovers. After comparing seven studies looking at cardiovascular health and chocolate, overall a majority of the studies found a benefit.
There was an overall benefit of 37 percent reduction in heart disease. There was also a 29 percent benefit for stroke patients as well. The research also states that the benefits have to be tempered with the high sugar and fat that is also found in certain types of chocolate. The way I interpret the study is that if you eat good quality dark chocolate without chemicals, milk or sugar added, it can act as a benefit. The chocolate that you find at the check-out counter of grocery stores and drug stores doesn’t count as high quality chocolate.
Finally the study does mention that there are many other foods that contains flavonols and they may be better sources of foods than chocolate. Flavonols are a subset of phytochemicals called Anthocyanin which are found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Examples of foods that contain flavonols are blackberries, green tea, or red apples.
Hirschler, Ben. " Is chocolate good for your heart? It depends| Reuters." Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2011.
"Interesting Chocolate Statistics | Tiny Prints." Stylish Announcements, Invitations, Cards and Stationery Supplies by Tiny Prints. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2011.