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Dark chocolate shown to protect against heart attack and stroke in at-risk individuals

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 by: John Phillip
Tags: dark chocolate, heart attack, stroke

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(NaturalNews) Heart disease and stroke continues to rank as the leading, preventable cause of death in most Western societies, killing three-quarters of a million people combined. Any natural compound that can significantly lower the death rate from vascular diseases should be embraced by natural health advocates and the medical profession alike. Yet allopathic physicians continue to prescribe a host of ineffective and dangerous prescription medications that do little to combat this epidemic.

The result of a study published in the British Medical Journal shows that dark chocolate consumption can reduce cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in people with metabolic syndrome (physical biomarkers that significantly increase the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes). Past studies have suggested that eating small amounts of dark chocolate (containing at least 60 percent cocoa solids) provides short-term heart protective effects. Australian researchers wanted to further determine if dark chocolate could provide long term benefits in an at-risk population.

Dark chocolate found to significantly lower non-fatal and fatal vascular events

Scientists assembled a cohort of 2,013 participants with existing markers for heart disease (high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome), but were not presently on medications. The group ate dark chocolate daily (equivalent to one ounce or one square of chocolate) for a period of ten years. The investigators used sophisticated risk-prediction algorithms and population life tables to determine the probability of patients developing or dying from heart disease or other non-cardiovascular causes each year.

The study demonstrated that those individuals following the dietary chocolate protocol with 100 percent compliance could potentially avert 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events per 10,000 people treated over 10 years. It is important to note that these risk reduction numbers are higher than many deadly pharmaceutical interventions.

At a reduced compliance rate of 80 percent, the scientists found the number of non-fatal and fatal events potentially averted was 55 and 10 per 10,000 people treated over 10 years, still considered to be an effective intervention strategy. The study team noted that the findings are only relevant when consuming dark chocolate with a minimum cocoa content between 60 to 70 percent (prior studies suggest eighty percent cocoa content). Milk chocolate consumption does not lower risk of stroke or heart disease due to the high sugar content and lack of healthy cocoa flavonoids.

The researchers concluded that daily dark chocolate consumption "could represent an effective and cost effective strategy for people with metabolic syndrome (and no diabetes)." Health-minded individuals, especially those at risk or with a familial history of vascular disease may want to consider eating one ounce of high-cocoa content dark chocolate each day to shield against stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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