A new study, published in the Heart journal, has specified that consuming 100 g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk. The research participants consisted of 21,000 adults taking part in the Epic-Norfolk study which tracked the impact of diet on the long term health of 25,000 men and women in Norfolk, England, using food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires.
The participants were monitored for an average of almost 12 years and consisted of 9214 men and 11 737. During the 12 years, fourteen percent experienced either an episode of fatal or non-fatal coronary heart disease or stroke.
A systematic review of the available published research was analyzed for the link between chocolate and cardiovascular disease, involving almost 158,000 people–including the EPIC study participants.
The research findings revealed that higher levels of consumption of chocolate was associated with a 18% reduction of the measured inflammatory protein (CRP, younger age and lower weight (BMI), waist: hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins, diabetes and more regular physical activity adding up to a decreased cardiovascular disease risk profile.
The highest chocolate intake was similarly associated with a 23% lower risk of stroke, even after taking account of other potential risk factors. Five studies included in the systematic review assessed coronary heart disease and stroke outcome, and determined a lower risk of both conditions associated with regular chocolate consumption.
The health benefits of chocolate are attributed to flavonoids, which act as anti-oxidant and provide a protective health benefit.
Chun Shing Kwok, S Matthijs Boekholdt, Marleen A H Lentjes, Yoon K Loke, Robert N Luben, Jessica K Yeong, Nicholas J Wareham, Phyo K Myint, Kay-Tee Khaw. Habitual chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease among healthy men and women. Heart, 15 June 2015 DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2014-307050