Do you love your chocolate? Here's one more reason why you must eat it. A new research has added to tentative evidence that eating chocolate in modest quantities may be good for the heart.
Scientists in Britain analyzed the data from nearly 21,000 people who filled out questionnaires about their lifestyle, and had their health monitored for more than 11 years. Their average daily consumption of chocolate was seven grams (0.25 ounces), ranging from none to 100g. The researchers found that the top fifth of chocolate-eaters were 12% less likely to develop heart disease and 23% less likely to suffer a stroke compared to the bottom fifth of consumers.
The study noted that most consumers of the confectionary ate milk chocolate, not dark chocolate which famously has a higher percentage of protective molecules called flavonoids. It said, "This may indicate that not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association."
The research team, headed by Phyo Myint of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, admitted the probe had limitations. The study was observational, meaning it could not show a cause and effect, but merely an association which may be circumstantial. Another question mark was to be found in reverse causation- study participants who knew they had cardiovascular problems may have followed a healthier diet and eaten less chocolate.
The team also did a review of other published studies, covering more than 130,000 people in total, and said, "We had found a similarly beneficial association with regular chocolate consumption. Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events. There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk."
The study is published in the Heart