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September 24, 2008

Chocolate Lover's Delight: Dark Chocolate: Half A Bar Per Week May Keep Heart Attack Risk At Bay

Topics: Health Issues

dark%20choc.jpgAs though chocolate lovers needed a reason to chomp down dark chocolate, now they have an excuse; they're doing it to prevent heart attacks: 6.7 grams of chocolate per day represents the ideal amount for a protective effect against inflammation and subsequent cardiovascular disease:

[...] The findings, published in the last issue of the Journal of Nutrition, official journal of the American Society of Nutrition, come from one of the largest epidemiological studies ever conducted in Europe, the Moli-sani Project, which has enrolled 20,000 inhabitants of the Molise region so far. By studying the participants recruited, researchers focused on the complex mechanism of inflammation. It is known how a chronic inflammatory state represents a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, from myocardial infarction to stroke, just to mention the major diseases. Keeping the inflammation process under control has become a major issue for prevention programs and C reactive protein turned out to be one of the most promising markers, detectable by a simple blood test.

[...] The Italian team related the levels of this protein in the blood of examined people with their usual chocolate intake. Out of 11,000, researchers identified 4,849 subjects in good health and free of risk factors (normal cholesterol, blood pressure and other parameters). Among them, 1,317 did not use to eat any chocolate, while 824 used to have chocolate regularly, but just the dark one.

[...] people having moderate amounts of dark chocolate regularly have significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein in their blood. In other words, their inflammatory state is considerably reduced." The 17% average reduction observed may appear quite small, but it is enough to decrease the risk of cardio-vascular disease for one third in women and one fourth in men. It is undoubtedly a remarkable outcome".

Chocolate amounts are critical. "We are talking of a moderate consumption. The best effect is obtained by consuming an average amount of 6.7 grams of chocolate per day, corresponding to a small square of chocolate twice or three times a week. Beyond these amounts the beneficial effect tends to disappear".

Did I forget to mention in the introduction that moderation is key? Sorry about that; as usual, you know how it goes - you can have too much of a good thing.

Posted by Abdul at September 24, 2008 7:40 AM

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