Those who eat more chocolate have a 37 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who eat little, according to a Cambridge University analysis of seven separate studies, containing in total over 100,000 people.
They also have a 29 per cent lower chance of stroke, although they do not have a lower risk of heart failure.
The studies, which followed people in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US and Japan for about a decade on average, did not focus on dark chocolate alone, which is believed to be the most beneficial type.
Rather, they included consumption of other types including milk chocolate and chocolate bars, drinks, biscuits and desserts.
Dr Oscar Franco, from the university’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, said no one really understood why chocolate appeared to be so good for heart health.
He said: “Foods are very complex structures where many substances interact to have a beneficial effect…”
Dr Franco presented the results at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Paris on Monday, while a paper has also been published in the British Medical Journal…
He said it only suggested two pieces of chocolate a day; while other studies have indicated a mere 20 to 50g – a small bar’s worth – is enough…
And while the analysis did not differentiate between different types of chocolate, he said it was clear that dark chocolate was the healthier option, as it contained less sugar and fat.
We’ve posted about the chocolate effect before. I certainly take it to heart [pun intended] as does my partner in the Deep South, KB.
I eat a little bit of chocolate almost every evening. Sometimes 72% dark chocolate, sometimes 85% dark.