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Dark chocolate consumption linked to lower risk of heart attack, stroke

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Just in time for Easter, a new study has found that consuming small quantities of dark chocolate can help reduce heart disease risk and lower blood pressure.

In the study, researchers in Germany monitored 19,357 people, aged 35 to 65, for a minimum of eight years and had them routinely fill out questionnaires regarding their dietary and exercise habits.

After analyzing the data, lead author Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, and his colleagues found that participants who ate an average of 7.5 grams of chocolate each day had a 39 percent lower risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke compared to those who consumed the least amount of chocolate.

"To put it in terms of absolute risk, if people in the group eating the least amount of chocolate increased their chocolate intake by six grams a day, 85 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 10,000 people could be expected to occur over a period of about ten years," said Buijsse.

However, he added that chocolate consumption should not increase overall daily caloric intake or act as a replacement for healthy foods.

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