A Daily Dose of Chocolate May Prevent a Stroke
A wealth of scientific evidence continues to demonstrate the powerful health benefits of consuming a wide variety of polyphenols from natural foods. In past studies, resveratrol, curcumin and grape seed extract have been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia as these amazing compounds alter genetic expression to improve cellular metabolism and improve critical biomarkers.
Swedish researchers have published the result of a study conducted at the Karolinska Institute in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology that shows eating a moderate amount of chocolate each week may be associated with a lower risk of stroke in men. Lead study author Dr. Susanna Larsson commented “While other studies have looked at how chocolate may help cardiovascular health, this is the first of its kind study to find that chocolate, may be beneficial for reducing stroke in men.”
Antioxidants from Chocolate Improve Endothelial Artery Function to Reduce Stroke Risk
To conduct the study, 37,103 Swedish men aged between 49 and 75 years were given a food questionnaire to determine how often they consumed various foods and drinks. Additionally, the cohort was asked how often they ate chocolate. Researchers then identified the total number of stroke cases recorded through the decade long study timeframe. Over 10 years, there were 1,995 cases of first stroke.
Researchers found that the men consuming the highest amount of chocolate (approximately one-third of a cup of chocolate chips each day) had a 17 percent lower risk of stroke, or 12 fewer strokes per 100,000 person-years compared to those who ate no chocolate. In a related study of 4,260 stroke cases, the risk of stroke was 19 percent lower for those individuals eating the highest number of grams (50 grams or one-quarter cup) of chocolate per day . This study found that stroke risk declined 14 percent for every additional 50 grams of chocolate consumed.
Eat One Square of Dark Chocolate Daily to Significantly to Improve Arterial Blood Flow
Dr. Larsson concluded “The beneficial effect of chocolate consumption on stroke may be related to the flavonoids in chocolate. Flavonoids appear to be protective against cardiovascular disease through antioxidant, anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also possible that flavonoids in chocolate may decrease blood concentrations of bad cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.”
Many prior studies involving chocolate and cocoa consumption determined that dark chocolate sources were most beneficial. This study found that the type of chocolate consumed (90% milk chocolate in Sweden) was not a factor and conferred the same results regardless of cocoa content. Nutrition experts still recommend consuming dark chocolate with an 85 percent coca content to avoid excess dietary sugar and significantly lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
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John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and diet, health and nutrition researcher and author with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.
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Article updated on: December 14th, 2012