Is chocolate good for you? A new study out of Sweden affirms the goodness of chocolate, as if we needed another excuse to indulge. Researchers found that men who ate more chocolate were less likely to have a stroke. And while some chocolate boosted stroke-protection, more chocolate seemed to have even better results.
As reported in the Raw Story, men who ate a chocolate bar each week could lower their stroke risk by 17 percent. More chocolate has even more benefits. Every increase in consumption of 50 grams per week, further reduced risk of stroke by 14 percent, according to the study.
The research, reported in the latest edition of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, was done on a group of 37,103 Swedish men who submitted their chocolate consumption via survey. This information was compared against hospital records. Further, the lead scientist, Susanna Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, compared the results against 5 other similar studies, and found similar results.
Larsson said the benefits of chocolate come from flavonoids—epicatechins, catechins, and procyanidins in particular. These compounds can reportedly “reduce blood stickiness” to prevent clotting. Also, they help the arterial system manage changes in pressure and decrease bad cholesterol in the blood. Chocolate is also among the top antioxidant rich foods, giving even more great reason to consume the food.
A healthy diet and regular exercise are crucial (and even more effective at protecting against strokes). But a little chocolate may help too.
Usually, we follow up any study like this with something like: stick to dark chocolate. But with this particular study, the benefits were found in milk chocolate (which accounts for about 90% of the chocolate intake in Sweden). Larsson cautions, however, that because milk chocolate is higher in sugar, it should be consumed in moderation. Dark chocolate is the preferable choice, though.
Some other reason to consume chocolate is to fight depression, cancer, and even promote healthy fat loss. In the study examining the fat-burning effects of chocolate consumption, researchers report that those who ate chocolate a few times per week were slimmer than those who ate it occasionally.
So, while both dark and milk chocolate may have stroke-prevention benefits, stick with a high quality chocolate—nothing with caramel, nougat, and crispies. We are in it for the chocolate—not the splurge! Additionally, only buy organic chocolate if possible, as genetically modified chocolate could consume as much as 70% of the global cocoa supply.