Moderate, Dark Chocolate Consumption Lowers Risks of Heart Failure in Large Study

A nine-year-study of over 30,000 middle-aged and elderly Swedish women concludes that eating small amounts of a high-quality chocolate lowered their risks of heart failure. Specifically, the effective chocolate had a higher density cocoa content, the darker the better.

The study, published in Circulation: Heart Failure, a journal of the American Heart Association, and led by Harvard’s Murrray Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H. concluded:

  • Women who ate an average of one to two servings of the high-quality chocolate per week had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure.
  • Those who had one to three servings per month had a 26 percent lower risk.

Women who ate chocolate every day didn’t have the protective health benefits, but researchers don’t attribute that fact to the chocolate. Presumably, eating chocolate daily is associated with higher calorie intake and is likely associated with being overweight or obese. Any positive health benefits to the heart from chocolate are negated by the negative health benefits attributed to being overweight.

This is the first long-term heart study specifically focused on heart failure, which often results from ongoing untreated high blood pressure. Short-term studies on eating chocolate suggest that the high concentration of ‘flavonoids’ in dark chocolate may lower blood pressure.

Doctors reiterate the importance of eating dark chocolate and not milk chocolate, which is more common in America.

In Sweden, home to the study, even milk chocolate has 30 percent more cocoa solids. By every measure American-produced chocolate has less stringent requirements for chocolate quality, which is why eating European chocolate is recommended, unless the American producer calls out his/her higher-quality nutrition standards. via Science Daily