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Weekly chocolate good for the heart?

Thursday July 23rd 2020

Eating chocolate at least once a week is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease because it helps to keep the vascular system healthy, a new US study claims today.

Dr Chayakrit Krittanawong, of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, and his research team conducted a combined analysis of studies from the past five decades, looking for an association between chocolate consumption and coronary artery disease.

The analysis of six studies involved 336,289 participants, all of whom reported their chocolate consumption.

During a median follow-up of nearly nine years, 14,043 participants developed coronary artery disease and 4,667 had a heart attack.

When the team compared chocolate consumption, they found that eating it more than once a week was associated with an 8% decreased risk of coronary artery disease compared with those who ate it less than once a week.

However, the study, which appears in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, did not examine which type of chocolate was best or how much a person should eat.

Dr Krittanawong said: “Chocolate contains heart healthy nutrients such as flavonoids, methylxanthines, polyphenols and stearic acid which may reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol).

“Chocolate appears promising for prevention of coronary artery disease, but more research is needed to pinpoint how much and what kind of chocolate could be recommended.”

Krittanawong C, Narasimhan B, Wang Z, et al. Association between chocolate consumption and risk of coronary artery disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Prev Cardiol 23 July 2020; doi:10.1177/2047487320936787.

Tags: Diet & Food | Heart Health | North America

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