Will Dark Chocolate a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

May 31, 2012 -- Should people at high risk of heart attack and stroke eat dark chocolate every day?

Maybe, according to a new study from Australia.

"Dark chocolate may be a pleasant and effective way of delivering important dietary components that can provide health benefits to the ever increasing numbers of people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease," says researcher Christopher M. Reid, PhD, professor of cardiovascular epidemiology and preventive medicine at Monash University in Australia.

Reid and his team constructed a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects of eating dark chocolate daily in high-risk people. They did not study actual people eating actual chocolate.

The researchers also computed whether it would be cost-effective to spend money on a public education campaign about dark chocolate's benefits. They found it would be.

Several studies have found that dark chocolate, with its heart-healthy flavonols, can lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol.

However, Reid believes theirs is the first study to model the long-term effects of eating dark chocolate in reducing cardiovascular risk.

The study is published in the journal BMJ.
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