A Dark Chocolate A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
By Juliana Chan | Health & Medicine
June 4, 2012
In fantastic news for all chocolate lovers around the world, researchers say that a daily dose of dark chocolate may lower the risk of stroke and heart attack over a ten-year period.
AsianScientist (Jun. 4, 2012) – In fantastic news for all chocolate lovers around the world, researchers say that a daily dose of dark chocolate may lower the risk of stroke and heart attack over a ten-year period.
In a study published last week in the British Medical Journal, researchers from Monash University showed that dark chocolate’s blood pressure- and cholesterol-lowering qualities made it a cheap (and tasty) intervention strategy for the 30 percent of the Australian population at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers predicted that daily dark chocolate consumption could prevent 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events per 10,000 people over a ten-year period.
Lead author Ms. Ella Zomer said the study was the first to examine the long-term health benefits of flavonoids, which are found in dark chocolate and known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
“We’ve predicted significant health benefits of eating 100 grams of dark chocolate every day over a 10 year period. That’s about the equivalent of one premium-quality block containing a minimum 70 percent cocoa,” she said.
“Our findings indicate dark chocolate therapy could provide an alternative to or be used to complement drug therapeutics in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease,” she added.
Despite the potential health benefits of dark chocolate, Zomer cautions that it must be taken moderately and paired with other preventive measures.
“We’re not suggesting that the high-risk group use dark chocolate as their only preventative measure, but in combination with sensible choices, such as exercise,” she explained.
The researchers used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects and cost effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2,013 people already at high risk of heart disease. Participants had no history of heart disease or diabetes and were not on blood pressure-lowering therapy.
Findings suggested that investing AU$42 per person, per year on dark chocolate-related health strategies, including advertising and promotion, would be beneficial to the wider population in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Non-fatal stroke and non-fatal heart attack were assessed and the potential effects on other cardiovascular events, including heart failure, are yet to be examined.
Zomer said ‘enriched’ dark chocolate varieties with high flavonoid levels may also allow consumers to obtain the health benefits with lower levels of chocolate consumption.
The article can be found at: Zomer E et al. (2012) The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of dark chocolate consumption as prevention therapy in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease: best case scenario analysis using a Markov model.
Source: Monash University.
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