Dark Chocolate Protects Against Heart Attacks and Strokes

Dark Chocolate Protects Against Heart Attacks and Strokes

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The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has published research undertaken amongst those at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease - showing the positive effectiveness of Dark Chocolate in helping prevent these risks.

Researchers from Monash University, Australia, looked at data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study and focussed on people who suffered from metabolic syndrome (which means that they had signs of physical biomarkers that significantly increase the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes).

They studied just over 2,000 individuals (2,013) who met these criteria, i.e, they had metabolic syndrome, but did not have any history of cardiovascular disease and were not receiving antihypertensive therapy.

The researchers were interested in finding “an effective, natural product – without the potentially hazardous side-effects of drugs” – to be used in the prevention of cardiovascular episodes – and they were also interested in the potential cost effectiveness of using dark chocolate instead of expensive prescription drugs.

They found that daily consumption of dark chocolate (polyphenol content equivalent to 100 g of dark chocolate), can reduce cardiovascular events by 85 (95% confidence interval 60 to 105) per 10,000 population treated over 10 years.

And the costs were low, as $A40 (£25; €31; $42) could be cost effectively spent per person per year on prevention strategies using dark chocolate.

They concluded that daily dark chocolate consumption (at least 60 – 70% cacao)could be an effective preventative treatment against cardiovascular problems because of its proven blood pressure and cholesterol lowering effect.

The researchers defined metabolic syndrome on the basis of three of five risk factors: increased waist circumference; high triglyceride concentrations; high density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration; high systolic/ diastolic blood pressure, or treatment for hypertension; and high fasting glucose concentrations.

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