Men may be able to reduce their risk of having a stroke by about one-sixth, simply by eating one chocolate bar per week.
[This must mean I cut my risk by about five/sixths]
That’s the appetizing conclusion of a large new study from Sweden, the first in a long line of recent studies on the potential heart and vascular benefits of chocolate to look specifically at men.
Researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute followed more than 37,000 men between the ages of 45 and 79 for about 10 years. Compared to those who ate little or no chocolate, men who ate the most — about 2.2 ounces per week — had a 17% lower risk of having a stroke during that timespan.
To bolster these findings, the researchers pooled their data with that from four previous studies, including a near-identical 2011 study they conducted in women. A re-analysis of the combined data produced similar results: Men and women who ate the most chocolate had a 19% lower risk of stroke, compared to those who ate the least…
The study, which was funded by a Swedish research council and published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, adds to the growing evidence that chocolate, or rather cocoa, has some heart-healthy properties.
Cocoa contains flavonoids, compounds that have been shown to lower blood pressure, increase “good” cholesterol (HDL) and improve the function of arteries.
Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, also may thin the blood and prevent clotting, which could help stave off heart attacks and strokes.
The authors note, however, other substances in chocolate may also explain the results of their study. Or that the lifestyle and attitude of chocolate lovers leads to a longer life. All I know is that I get to do one of these posts pretty much every week!
I joke that if I was starting out all over again I’d probably center my career on computational analysis in science in general – or medicine specifically. If I was guaranteed a career investigating chocolate – I might even consider coming out of retirement, tomorrow.