Eating chocolate can reduce heart attack survivors' risk of dying, say researchers who followed 1,169 Swedish men and women, ages 45 to 70, from the time they were hospitalized with their first heart attack in the early 1990s.
Those who ate chocolate two or more times a week were about three times less likely to die from heart disease than those who never ate chocolate, the study found. Smaller amounts of chocolate also offered some protection, Agence France Presse reported.
The study, which appears in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine, is believed to be the first to demonstrate that chocolate can help prevent death in heart attack survivors.
"Our findings support increasing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds," the researchers wrote.
Antioxidants in cocoa likely explain chocolate's beneficial effects in heart attack survivors, study co-author Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told AFP.