In fact, eating chocolate several times a week is beneficial. According to a recent publishedEuropean Journal of Preventive Heart Disease, eating chocolate one to three times a week reduces risk of coronary heart disease by 8%.
To reach this conclusion, US researchers examined six studies spanning 50 years, from 1966 to 2020. The objects of study were 336,289 people from three continents. Including 266,264 people from USA, 68,809 people from Sweden and 1,216 people from Australia.
In some studies, patients were followed up for almost nine years to be able to compare progression of disease in those who did not eat chocolate. During follow-up period, participants reported 21,777 illnesses, of which 14,043 were coronary heart disease, 4,667 heart attacks, 2,735 strokes, and 332 heart failure. This gave authors of study opportunity to study effect of chocolate on risk of disease, in particular, since chocolate affects functioning of heart.Studies have shown that chocolate helps keep blood vessels in heart healthy.
In past, clinical studies have shown that chocolate is good for blood pressure and vascular endothelium. But does it affect blood vessels that supply heart (the coronary arteries)? . If yes, is it helpful or harmful?
In this systematic analysis of previous studies, amount of chocolate was taken into account. Each serving is limited to 30 grams of chocolate. Researchers cannot determine optimal amount needed to promote health because chocolate products are made with varying amounts of milk, sugar, and fat. Abuse is not recommended for this reason: moderate amounts of chocolate appear to protect coronary arteries, but large amounts probably do not. Calories, sugar, milk, and fat in commercial products need to be considered, especially in people with diabetes and obesity.
While investigating protective effects of chocolate on diabetes, researchers found that eating two servings of chocolate may help prevent diabetes. However, no positive effect on diabetes control was found when intake was increased to about 6 servings per week. Due to congenital heart disease (CHD) and stroke, taking less than 3 times a week reduces risk of disease. In conclusion, chocolate consumption has been associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Moderate chocolate consumption (≤6 servings per week) may be best way to prevent these diseases.
Despite fact that doctors often do not recommend sugary foods, dark chocolate can be confusing, but it is nevertheless suitable for people with diabetes and heart disease. Cocoa, main ingredient in chocolate, contains flavonols, antioxidants that may reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Chocolate contains heart-healthy nutrients such as flavonoids, methylxanthines, polyphenols, and stearic acid, which can reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol (HDL or HDL cholesterol).
However, new study did not look at different types of chocolate, so paper did not mention dark chocolate. This study has a number of such limitations. The researchers also failed to identify physiological processes that underlie chocolate consumption and reduce risk of heart disease. Therefore, they say, long-term, double-blind, randomized controlled trials are needed to learn more about it. One such study will be completed by 2021.
A four-year study of 18,000 people examined whether a cocoa extract supplement containing 600 mg of flavanols and a multivitamin could protect cardiovascular health and cancer risk. In addition, Harvard researchers claim that their goal was not to provide a clinical recommendation, but to provide more information about benefits of cocoa flavanols.