A piece of chocolate a day keeps the doctor away
German scientists have discovered that a small piece of chocolate daily can greatly reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, but warned in a study released this week that moderation is key.
A team of researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) in Potsdam proved that six grammes of dark chocolate per day brought blood pressure down within two to three days, the study published in “European Heart Journal” said.
Compared to people who consumed little or no chocolate, the risk for heart attack and stroke was reduced by 39 percent for cocoa lovers.
The scientists in Potsdam believe that the positive effects were derived from Flavanols contained in cocoa, which increase Nitric oxide in the blood, in turn relaxing arteries and lowering blood pressure, the study said.
But the scientists warned chocoholics that too much of the sweet stuff can lead to obesity and increased risk of heart disease.
“Rather eat one piece of chocolate and abstain from snacks in between,” study author Brian Buijsse said.
The analysis of some 19,300 men and women between 35 and 65-years-olds began in 1994. Every two to three years the subjects answered questions about their health and diet.