Scientists announce amazing findings: chocolate offers huge protection from heart disease and stroke

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: chocolate, heart disease, health news

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(NaturalNews) All regular readers of NaturalNews know that researchers have discovered chocolate (especially the organic, not junked up with additives and sugar type) contains phytochemicals which appear to promote good health. But no one has had much of a clue about the specifics of some of those benefits on the cardiovascular system -- until now. Scientists at the European Society of Cardiology Congress currently underway in Paris just announced that chocolate provides huge protection from heart disease as well as stroke.

That's great news because, despite the billions of dollars spent on mainstream medicine's drugs and surgical interventions, the battle against cardiovascular disease obviously needs some serious help. Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by 2030 nearly 23.6 million people will die yearly from heart disease.

So just imagine the fluttering of hearts in Big Pharma offices if they found a no side effect, easy to produce drug that actually worked to lower the risk of developing heart disease in the first place by almost 40 percent. The demand and profits to be made would be enormous. While there is no such medication, it turns out that eating chocolate regularly appears to accomplish what pills can't.

For a new study, which was just published in the online version of the British Medical Journal, Dr. Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge carried out a large scale investigation of existing research on chocolate. In all, they looked at research involving over 100,000 participants with and without existing heart disease. Then the scientists evaluated the effects of eating chocolate on cardiovascular events including heart attacks and stroke.

For each of seven studies that were analyzed, the research team compared the group with the highest chocolate consumption against the group with the lowest consumption (to minimize bias, they factored in differences in the way each study had been designed). Bottom line: the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with an astounding 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease and an almost 30 percent reduction in stroke compared with lowest levels of chocolate eating.

The studies did not differentiate between dark or milk chocolate and included consumption of chocolate bars, drinks, biscuits and desserts -- which raises an obvious question not answered by the new research analysis. Would the cardiovascular protection be even more pronounced if the chocolate didn't include extra sugars, unhealthy fats or chemical additives found in many chocolate drinks and candy bars?

The authors of the study did warn their findings need to be interpreted cautiously because commercially available chocolate products are often loaded with calories, so eating too much of these can lead to weight gain and be harmful to health in general. However, in a statement to the media, they concluded that given the health benefits of eating chocolate, "initiatives to reduce the current fat and sugar content in most chocolate products should be explored."

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