A lot of health experts are quick to blame chocolate for a multitude of conditions such as obesity and bad teeth. On the occasions when they do talk about the health benefits of chocolate, they usually point at dark chocolate. But a new study has found that milk chocolate eaten in moderation can protect against heart disease, as well as lower the risk of experiencing a stroke.
British researchers have conducted a long-running study that proved both dark chocolate and milk chocolate have health benefits. Eating just two (2) bars per day lowers your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke by 11 percent (11%), and your risk of dying of cardiovascular disease by 25 percent (25%).
Dr. Phyo Myint, co-author and chair of medicine of old age at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, gave a statement saying that “People who want to eat chocolate should not be worried too much about their cardiovascular health. We did not find any harmful effects of chocolate, if they want to enjoy chocolate now and again. The key is moderation”.
It’s not the first study to paint chocolate in a positive light either. Previous research has shown how consuming chocolate can reduce memory loss, reduce stress, lower cholesterol, prevent diabetes, and even protect the skin against sun damage.
For the new study, published earlier this week, on Monday (June 15, 2015), in the journal Heart, researcher at the University of Aberdeen looked at almost 21.000 people for about 12 years. The subjects were frequently asked about their eating habits, lifestyles and overall health.
What the researchers found is that subjects who consumed 7 to 100 grams of chocolate per day were in much better health than the subjects who ate an average of 1.1 grams per day. They concluded that a higher chocolate intake leads to a lower risk of cardiovascular problems and stressed that the chocolate most of them ate was milk chocolate, which is typically though of as being less healthy than dark chocolate.
The working theory is that the calcium and fatty acids found in milk are responsible for the health benefits of milk chocolate.
Even more surprising, subjects in the higher consumption rate not only had a much lower change of experiencing heart attacks and strokes, but they also generally had lower body-mass indexes (BDI), lower systolic blood pressure and inflammation, and lower rates of diabetes. One explanation could be that they also had a habit of exercising more.
The next step for the British researchers was to gather nine (9) previous studies and conduct a so called meta-analysis involving roughly 158.000 people. The results were even more positive. They found that those who ate large quantities of chocolate had 25 percent (25%) less of a chance of experiencing cardiovascular problems, and 45 percent (45%) less of a chance of dying from such problems.
Even though the team of researchers believes that a higher chocolate intake is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular events, they also admitted that they can’t definitively prove cause and effect as this was an observational study. Naveed Sattar, professor at the University of Glasgow, even suggested that some of the subjects may have lied about their eating habits.
Aedin Cassidy, Professor of Nutrition at the University of East Anglia, gave a statement saying that long term trials need to be conducted in order to fully understand the importance that chocolate has for heart health. Such trials could also either confirmer or infirm the findings.
Image Source: nzbs.co.nz