I love reading these studies for obvious reasons. I love chocolate!
Cocoa, is rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids have been associated with lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Other foods high in this rich plant pigment are berries, nuts and beans, red and green vegetables. A study was done in Australia that followed 1216 older women, average age 75 years of age for 9.5 years. Atherosclerosis outcomes were evaluated by self-reported chocolate intake.
Almost half of the women rarely ate chocolate, which was less than one 25-50 gram (about 1.8 ounces) serving weekly. About 36% ate it weekly, and 17% ate it daily. Even though this was an observational study, the results showed that women who consumed chocolate frequently were significantly less likely to be hospitalized for or die from atherosclerotic vascular disease than were women who consumed it rarely.
The question is what percentage of cocoa was used in the study. Research has shown an association with darker chocolate (70% cocoa content or higher) and better cardiovascular outcomes.
In the meantime, I’m taking this study to heart and feeling no guilt about indulging in a piece of chocolate daily. And so can you.
Lewis JR et al. habitual chocolate intake and vascular disease; A prospective study of clinical outcomes in older women. Arch Intern Med 2010 Nov 8; 170:1857.