(NaturalNews) Swedish researchers have contributed the latest glad tidings to a growing number of studies indicating chocolate is beneficial for the cardiovascular system. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists found that women, who ate the most chocolate, had a 20 percent reduction in their stroke risk: USA Today reports. In this case, the quantity consumed was approximately two candy bars per week.
Author Susanna Larsson explains that the healthful components of cocoa are compounds called flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity and the ability to impede the harmful oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as "bad cholesterol." Since the oxidation of LDL leads to the formation of plaque that causes cardiovascular disease, the hindrance of this process reduces the risk of stroke. In addition to this advantage, previous studies have shown dark chocolate consumption can lower blood pressure and insulin resistance, as well as help prevent the formation of blood clots.
In spite of the positive findings, Larsson cautions against eating too much chocolate. She advises that it be consumed in moderation, due to its high content of calories, fat and sugar. Larsson also states that dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate because it has more cocoa and less sugar.
The researchers at Karolinska Institute studied 33,000 women between the ages of 49 and 83 over a 10-year period. Scientists compared data from the participants' questionnaires about their chocolate consumption with their stroke risk to determine if a correlation existed. Results revealed the more chocolate the women consumed, the less stroke incidence they incurred. The findings were significant because those who ate 2.3 ounces of chocolate per week had a 20 percent reduced stroke incidence compared to those who seldom ate chocolate.
Although the study does not prove chocolate was responsible for the reduced incidence, after controlling for other stroke risk factors, the results persisted: Larsson relayed to CBS News. Additionally, she expects the results to apply to men also. Regardless of the suggested benefit, experts are advising people to keep the results in perspective and not substitute chocolate for vegetables.
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