Individuals who eat dark chocolate on a daily basis lower their risk for stoke and heart attack by nearly 30%, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. The findings suggest flavonoids in dark chocolate work to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Researchers at Monash University examined the association between eating 100g of dark chocolate every day over a 10-year period. They were particularly interested in the long-term health benefits of flavonoids on cardiovascular health.
They used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects and cost effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2013 people already at high risk of heart disease. Participants had no history of heart disease or diabetes and were not on blood pressure-lowering therapy.
“Our findings indicate dark chocolate therapy could provide an alternative to or be used to complement drug therapeutics in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease,” they said. “We’re not suggesting that the high-risk group use dark chocolate as their only preventative measure, but in combination with sensible choices, such as exercise.”
Their findings suggested that investing $42 per person, per year on dark chocolate-related health strategies, including advertising and promotion, would be beneficial to the wider population in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Source: Monash University