Chocolate may not be perfect for maintaining a slim figure, but new research suggests it may well protect the brain against a stroke.
A study by scientists, following over 37,000 Swedish men, showed that those eating the most chocolate were actually the least likely to suffer from a stroke. This study had followed on from suggestions that eating chocolate can improve the health of the heart. For all you chocolate addicts out there however, the researchers as well as the Stroke Association have warned that this is not an excuse to overeat chocolate, so be warned!
After being asked about their eating habits, the health of all those involved was closely monitored for a whole decade. These people were split up into 4 different groups, depending on weekly chocolate consumption. The bottom group, on average, ate no chocolate each week, while the top group ate 63g (2.2oz) each week, which is just a little more than an average chocolate bar.
Comparison of the top and bottom groups revealed that those eating the most chocolate were 17% less likely to suffer from a stroke during the course of the study.
Professor Susanna Larsson, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, suggested that the effect of chocolate consumption on strokes may possibly be related to the flavonoids in chocolate. She stated that flavonoids appear to help protect against cardiovascular disease, achieving this through antioxidant, anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties. She also said that it is possible that flavonoids in chocolate may decrease blood concentrations of bad cholesterol, as well as reduce blood pressure.
Interestingly, milk chocolate was the preferred choice in the study, even though dark chocolate has had links to benefits for the heart in the past. The Stroke Association stated in relation to this that eating a moderate amount of other types of chocolate, instead of just dark, could be beneficial, however this should not be used as an alternative to regular exercise and a healthy diet in the hope of reducing the risk of a stroke.
This study is all very interesting, however nothing can really be seen as certain as of yet. If you would like to share your views on this topic, please click “Read More & Comment”.
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