Eating a bit of chocolate one to two times a week may cut your risk of heart failure, according to an observational population-based study of older Swedish women.
Many studies have already shown the link between chocolate (particularly flavanol-rich dark chocolate) and cardiovascular improvements, such as lower blood pressure. But here is a study that suggests it can actually improve your risk of heart failure.
The 30 thousand Swedish women participating in the study reported monthly consumption of chocolate over a nine-year period. Those who regularly ate 1-2 servings of chocolate a week experienced a significant decrease in risk of heart failure (26 percent lower for those who said they ate 1-3 servings a month, and 32 percent lower for those who ate 1-2 per week). The analysis took into account and adjusted for intake of other foods, body-mass index, exercise levels, family medical history, and other potential influences on heart-failure risk.
It was noted, however, that women who reported eating 3 or more servings of chocolate a week showed NO decrease in heart-failure risk. The explanation for this was thought to be the extra calories from sugar and fat and, because this likely displaced other foods, the fewer fruits and vegetables that these women had in their diets.
The net is, yet again, it's good advice that if you want to snack and you have a sweet tooth to satisfy, chocolate in moderation is a reasonably healthy choice.
Mostofsky E, Levitan EB, Wolk A, Mittleman MA. Chocolate intake and incidence of heart failure: A population-based, prospective study of middle-aged and elderly women. Circ Heart Fail 2010; DOI:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.110.9440
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.