SYDNEY -- Australian researchers have found that eating a block ofdark chocolate daily over 10 years has significant benefits forhigh-risk cardiac patients and could prevent heart attacks andstrokes. A study of 2,013 Australians conducted at Melbourne's MonashUniversity found that the consumption of 100 grams (3.5 ounces) ofchocolate with a 70 percent or higher cocoa content every day wasan effective measure to reduce risk. Lead researcher Ella Zomer said the team found 70 fatal and 15non-fatal cardiovascular events per 10,000 people could beprevented over 10 years if patients at risk of having a heartattack or stroke ate dark chocolate. We've predicted significant health benefits of eating 100 gramsof dark chocolate every day over a 10-year period, Zomer said ofthe study, published in the British Medical Journal. |
Our findings indicate dark chocolate therapy could provide analternative to or be used to complement drug therapeutics in peopleat high risk of cardiovascular disease. Zomer's research partner Chris Reid said measurements from thesubjects, all of whom had classic risk factors such as high bloodpressure and elevated cholesterol or body weight, were run throughepidemiological modeling. The projections of likely deaths and other non-fatal events betweenthose who consumed dark chocolate and those who did not werecompared and there was a notable difference. One of the appeals of this study is here is a dietary alternativewhich may be quite appealing to a lot of people.
In fact, chocolatestudies have shown really good compliance rates, Reid told AFP. High-cocoa chocolate is beneficial because it contains antioxidantchemicals called polyphenols, which help keep blood vesselsdilated, thereby reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow. Green tea and brightly colored fruits such as red apples andblueberries are also major sources of polyphenols. Reid said it was important to find ways to reduce heart disease asAustralia's population aged and the increasing numbers of at-riskpeople could use lifestyle, dietary and exercise changes to headoff the need for drugs.
Experts have cautioned that excessive consumption of dark chocolateleads to obesity, itself a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. But, said Reid: We're not suggesting that the high-risk group usedark chocolate as their only preventative measure, but incombination with sensible choices, such as exercise. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwideaccording to the World Health Organisation, accounting for 30percent of all global deaths.
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