Although many studies have reported intake chocolate, especially flavanol-rich dark chocolate, can improve blood pressure and provide other cardiovascular benefits, a new study suggested chocolate can reduce the risk of heart failure.
The results came from the Swedish Mammography Cohort, which looked at the effect of foods, activity levels, body dimensions on the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Over a nine year period, women who took a one to three servings of chocolate per month had a 26% reduce in the risk of heart failure while those who took one or two servings per week had a 32% reduction in heart failure.
However, when the consumption of chocolate increased to more than twice a week, no reduction in heart failure risk was observed. It is possible that the additional sugars and fats that come with the increased consumption of chocolate negated the beneficial effects of the flavanol.
Nonetheless, this study and other studies indicated that moderate consumption of chocolate does improve your cardiovascular health.
On a separate note, readers should be aware that European chocolates contain higher content of cocoa (30%) and flavanols than US chocolate, which is allowed to contain as little as 15% cocoa solids.
Source: Mostofsky E, Levitan EB, Wolk A, Mittleman MA. Circ Heart Fail 2010; DOI:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.110.944025.
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