Dark Chocolate Could Prevent Heart Problems in High-Risk PeopleThursday, May 31, 2012
People with metabolic syndrome who eat dark chocolate every day may lower their risk of heart attack and stroke, according to recent research. Australian researchers studied 2,013 people with high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome who were at high risk of developing heart disease, although none of the participants had a history of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or took medication for high blood pressure. Using a mathematical model, they determined that consuming a small amount of dark chocolate containing at least 60 percent cocoa solids each day could avert non-fatal and fatal cardiovascular events over 10 years. Slightly less than 100 percent compliance with a daily regimen of dark chocolate consumption (80 percent compliance) also yielded cardiovascular benefits. Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids, which appear to have blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering benefits. The researchers note that consuming dark chocolate is a cost-effective prevention strategy for people with a high risk of developing heart disease that could be promoted through advertising and educational campaigns, as well as government subsidies.