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Pass the chocolate, especially to grandma, because according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, older women who eat more chocolate are less likely to develop heart problems. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in industrialized countries.
ʺWomen did not have to eat huge amounts of chocolate to see the benefits,ʺ said the study’s author Dr. Joshua Lewis who is based at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Australia.
According to Reuters, women older than 70 who ate chocolate at least once per week were 35 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease over the course of the study and nearly 60 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart failure.
Also, two other recent studies have also stated the benefits of chocolate. A 2008 study by Italian researchers found that eating dark chocolate regularly may help lower levels of inflammation. Inflammation is linked to heart and blood vessel disease. And, another study showed that foods rich in flavonoids (dark chocolate, apples, red wine, etc.) may help shield postmenopausal women from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Flavonoids are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to increase nitric oxide which helps boost the functioning of blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
According to study, Lewis tracked 1216 women for almost a decade. Over the ten years, Lewis noted who was hospitalized or died from heart disease. Nearly 90 of those who ate chocolate were rarely hospitalized or died from heart disease during the study period, versus 65 women who ate chocolate more frequently.
Also, data was compiled from the women’s estimates of how often they ate chocolate and the amount. One serving consisted of the equivalent amount of cocoa in 1 cup of hot cocoa. Roughly half of the women said they ate less than one serving of chocolate per week.
Another 35 of the infrequent chocolate eaters experienced heart failure, while only 18 women who reported eating chocolate at least once per week were hospitalized or died from the same condition.