Swedish researchers have found that a sweet tooth may not be such a bad thing! An article published in the October 18th issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that more than 33,000 Swedish women between the ages of 49 and 83 who consumed chocolate, seemed to have a lower risk of stroke.
The study showed a 20% reduced risk of stroke for women who ate approximately two candy bars (2.3 ounces) per week. Since the average American consumes 10-12 pounds of chocolate per year (approximately 3.5 ounces per week), we are already consuming more than the women who showed risk reduction benefits.
Chocolate contains flavanoids, which provides antioxidants that can stifle LDL oxidation (“bad” cholesterol). This oxidation can lead to cardiovascular disease, which includes stroke. The researchers also found that adding chocolate reduced blood pressure, lowered insulin resistance and reduced blood clot formation. While the study found an association between chocolate and reduced stroke risk, it did not prove a cause-and-effect.
The chocolate that was eaten contained 30% cocoa solids, which is higher than most dark chocolate consumed in The U.S. Although this new information is fascinating, we must view it with the proper perspective. So, don’t go raid your nearest grocery store and stock up on chocolate! However, when you do purchase chocolate, look for a brand that contains a high percentage of cocoa.