Chocoholics around the world and here in India may be delighted to know that chocolate could reduce the chances of developing heart disease and stroke.
In fact, new research suggests that chocolate, both milk and dark, may reduce heart disease by 25% and strokes by 22%.
Chocolate contains a number of anti-oxidant compounds and healthy ingredients such as cocoa, milk, flavonoids and nuts (sometimes). Milk is rich in calcium, which can help build strong bones and teeth.
The study performed by Professor Phyo Myint at the University of Aberdeen has been quite revealing. For long, chocolate has been well associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and numerous health and dental problems.
But in this observational study that looked at over 20,000 people’s diet over a period of over 10 years, it was found that those who indulged in chocolate had a lower blood pressure and waist to hip ratio. The risk of heart disease and stroke was cut down significantly as well.
So what does this really mean for us?
Well, with every good thing there is something bad, so it should come as no surprise to you that chocolate can still be harmful.
This study was an observational study and was only just based on what was seen in individuals who ate chocolate everyday. However, it does not clearly state that eating chocolate would definitely reduce heart disease or stroke; in other words it does not imply causation.
Chocolate intake in moderation is okay, but must be a part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
High intake of chocolate is accompanied by increase in body weight, especially because these are packed with fats and sugars that all lead to weight gain. In India, combined with our diet and lack of exercise, chocolate can certainly contribute to obesity and weight gain.
What we recommend
If you are normally fit and well, and do not suffer from heart disease, obesity or diabetes, then most certainly indulge in chocolate once in a while. Just make sure that you follow a healthy lifestyle otherwise, where you exercise regularly and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Dark chocolate has been found to be better than milk chocolate, so try to eat that instead.
Learn more about chocolate and your heart.
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