More Science that Chocolate May Be Good for Your Heart


A new systematic review and analysis of studies suggests that chocolate may benefit heart health. Published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, this research combined and analyzed the results of six observational studies conducted in the U.S., Sweden, and Australia. Consuming chocolate at least once a week was associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease (narrowing or blockage of the arteries around the heart due to a buildup of plaque).

This study does not establish cause and effect or indicate how much chocolate or what kind is related to a potential health benefit, but previous research suggests consuming a small amount of dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa or higher). The authors caution that the sugars and fats in commercial chocolate products can have detrimental health effects (so candy bars, brownies, and chocolate cake don’t count!).

Several bioactive compounds found in cocoa (including flavanols and polyphenols) are suggested as potential contributors to possible benefits. Some of these compounds are also found in various other foods, like fruits, nuts, and teas. If you love chocolate, a square or two of dark chocolate once a week as a substitute for sugared candy or other desserts is likely safe and may even prove to confer some health benefits.


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