Chocolate Again Linked
To Better Heart Health
Increased intakes of chocolate may decrease the risk of a heart attack victim from dying from heart-related problems, according to a new US-Swedish study.
Eating chocolate two or more times per week was associated with a 66 per cent reduction in cardiac mortality, while less frequent consumption was also associated with smaller decreased risks, report researchers in the Journal of Internal Medicine. The study is said to be the first to assess the possible effects of chocolate consumption on the prognosis of men and women following a heart attack.
The health benefits of antioxidant-rich chocolate have received recognition in recent years, with positive findings from a number of studies impacting on consumer awareness. Chocolate manufacturers are using high cocoa content (over 70 per cent) as a method of differentiation, and cocoa has also received attention for its potential in functional food applications.
The researchers followed 1,169 non-diabetic people hospitalized after their first heart attack, and participating in the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program. After completing a questionnaire to assess chocolate consumption over the course of 12 months, the participants were then followed to eight years.
According to the results, consuming chocolate less than once per month, up to once per week and twice or more per week was associated with 27, 44, and 66 per cent reductions in cardiac mortality, respectively.
Intakes of other sweets and candies were not linked to any changes in cardiac or total mortality risk. "Chocolate consumption was associated with lower cardiac mortality in a dose dependent manner in patients free of diabetes surviving their first acute myocardial infarction," wrote the researchers.
"The new findings support increasing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds, confirmation of this strong inverse relationship from other observational studies or large-scale, long-term, controlled randomized trials is needed," they concluded.
The researchers were affiliated with Karolinska Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, The National Board of Health and Welfare (Stockholm), and Uppsala University.
Source: Journal of Internal Medicine "Chocolate consumption and mortality following a first acute myocardial infarction: the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program"This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.