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Can chocolate help the heart?

29th September 2008

Eating a very small piece of dark chocolate every day may provide protection against heart disease.

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Dark - but not milk - chocolate eaten in very small daily quantities can have a significant impact on inflammation, which leads to cardiovascular disease.

Researchers in Italy studied 4,849 people in good health without risk factors for heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

A team of scientists from the Research Laboratories of the Catholic University in Campobasso and the National Cancer Institute of Milan asked the people, who were over the age of 35 and randomly chosen from town-hall registries, about their consumption of dark chocolate.

Researchers, writing in the Journal of Nutrition, relied on epidemiological data collected by Italy's Moli-sani project.

They found that people who at around the ideal amount of 6.7 grams per day (0.23 ounces) derived the greatest benefit.

That is the equivalent of making a small bar of dark chocolate last for an entire week.

People who ate such amounts of dark chocolate daily were found to have significantly lower level of C reactive protein which is an indicator of low levels of inflammation.

Keeping inflammation under control is a major part of preventive treatment for coronary heart disease.

The benefit held true even after accounting for any other potential confounding factors like differences in other dietary practices.

Previous studies have found that dark chocolate - but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk - is a potent antioxidant.

Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.

 

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Comments

Jane Lorimer

Thursday 2nd October 2008 @ 7:30

Choxi Plus has several times the antioxidant levels of other dark chocolate and is readily available in the UK.


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Article Information

Title: Can chocolate help the heart?
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 8536
Date Added: 29th Sep 2008

Sources

NHS Choices
Web MD

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