Chocolate Lowers Stroke Risk in Women

Women who eat more chocolate may reduce their stroke risk

(RxWiki News) Tired of hearing about boosting your health through eating fruits and veggies? Then the news that chocolate ranging from hot chocolate to candy bars may be a heart healthy snack for women, should melt in your mouth.

Women who eat larger quantities of chocolate may receive a protective benefit that helps ward off strokes. In fact, the Swiss study indicated that the more chocolate women ate, the lower their risk.

"Chocolate in moderation may protect from stroke."

Susanna Larsson from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm,and her team of researchers began the study in 1997 by asking nearly 40,000 women that had participated in a mammography study to complete questionnaires about diet and lifestyle factors. After eliminating some participants with a history of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes or with implausible answers, investigators were left with 33,372 women between the ages of 49 and 83 years old.

On the questionnaire, women were asked how often on average they consumed chocolate and nearly 100 other foods over the previous year. Women were followed for just over 10 years.

During that period, there were 1,549 reported strokes, which included 1,200 cerebral infarctions, 224 hemorrhagic strokes and 125 unspecified strokes.

It was found that chocolate appeared to lower the risk of stroke, especially for women who ate larger amounts. In women who ate the largest quantities of chocolate each week at more than 45 grams, researchers found there were 2.5 strokes per 1,000 women. Among women that ate less than 8.9 grams, there were 7.8 strokes per 1,000 women.

Scientists have previously suggested that flavonoids may be responsible for chocolate's health benefit. Additional studies would be needed to confirm the link between chocolate and a reduced risk of stroke.

Though the study showed a protective quality with the consumption of larger amounts of chocolate, moderation is urged since chocolate tends to have high fat and sugar content.

The research was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Review Date: 
October 11, 2011