A chocolate bar a day ‘can cut the risk of heart disease and stroke’
For the same reason, the experts found, dark chocolate is more beneficial than milk or white chocolate due to higher levels of antioxidants and cocoa.
The eight-year study, of nearly 30,000 people aged 35 to 65, confirmed the results of previous, smaller studies into the health benefits of cocoa products.
Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, Nuthetal, Germany, who co-authored the subsequent report, found that even one square of chocolate can be beneficial.
But if the dose is increased by just six grams, there were 85 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 10,000 people.
However, he conceded that those who ate more cocoa products could have shared other qualities that made them healthier.
And he stressed that, with 100g of chocolate containing an average of 500 calories, people should still eat it in moderation since being overweight can generate high blood pressure and heart disease.
“Given the promising health effects of cocoa, it is tempting to indulge in more chocolate,” he said.
“But we should make sure we are eating as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
“Small amounts of chocolate may help to prevent heart disease, but only if it replaces other energy-dense food – such as snacks – in order to keep body weight stable.”
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