Chocolate’s Sweet Benefits For Heart And Brain

Eating high levels of chocolate could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, according to a review of previous research.

Data from 114,009 patients suggested risk was cut by about a third, according to a study published on the BMJ . But the researchers warned that excessive consumption would result in other illnesses. The British Heart Foundation said there were better ways to protect the heart.

The analysis, conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge, compared the risk to the brain and heart in groups of people who reported eating low levels of chocolate, fewer than two bars per week, with those eating high levels – more than two bars per week. It showed that the “highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with the lowest levels.”


One of the researchers, Dr Oscar Franco, said chocolate was known to decrease blood pressure. He told the BBC the findings were “promising”, but needed further research to confirm any protective effect.

The study also warns that chocolate can lead to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. It suggested that chocolate could one day be used to protect from heart problems and stroke – if the sugar and fat content of chocolate bars was reduced. Dr Franco added: “The advice if you don’t eat chocolate is not to start eating chocolate.” For those who did eat chocolate, he recommended that they should “avoid binge-eating” and eat “small amounts [of chocolate] on a regular basis.”

Do you like chocolates? How much chocolate do you eat on the weekly average? Tell us if you agree that regular intake of small amounts of chocolate can protect the brain and the heart!

Source: BBC News

Image: Big Think

Chocolate Consumption Can Make You Slimmer?

Dr. Beatrice Golomb, associate professor of medicine at University of California, San Diego, has published a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine linking regular chocolate consumption with a lower body mass index, or BMI.

Golomb and her team surveyed 1,018 men and women aged 20 to 85 years old about their weekly food intake. Those who reported that they ate chocolate more frequently had lower BMIs. Even more surprisingly, the lower BMI group did not eating fewer calories or exercising more than their heavier counterparts in the study.

Research has long revealed the heart-healthy benefits of eating small amounts of chocolate, says registered dietician Nancy Copperman, director of Public Health Initiatives at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York. Dark chocolate in particular is high in anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.


A 2006 meta-analysis of studies published between 1966 and 2005 showed cocoa may even lower blood pressure, increase HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol). More recently in 2011, researchers at the University of Cambridge analyzed the results of seven studies and concluded that high levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a notable reduction in the risk of developing heart disease.

Still, those cardiovascular benefits come with a risk, Copperman says. “Before you start eating a chocolate bar a day to keep the doctor away, remember that a chocolate bar can contain over 200 calories, which mostly come from saturated fats and sugar.” What’s needed are more studies to determine if chocolate’s metabolic benefits really can offset the calories consumed, and help people keep their weight in check.

Source: CNN

Image: She Knows