Posted on Aug 25, 2010, 6 a.m.
Middle-aged and elderly women who consumed 1 to 2 servings of cocoa-rich chocolate slashed their risks of heart failure by 32%.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood sufficiently to the rest of the body, and occurs most frequently in the aging population. Murray Mittleman, from Harvard Medical School (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues studied data collected on 31,823 middle-aged and elderly Swedish women, assessing the relationship of the amount of high-quality (cocoa-rich) chocolate the women ate, compared to their risk for heart failure. The team found that those women who consumed an average of one to two servings of the high-quality chocolate per week were at a 32% lower risk of developing heart failure, and those who ate one to three servings per month had a 26% lower risk. Noting that high concentration of flavonoids, potent antioxidant compounds, in chocolate may lower blood pressure, the researchers conclude that: “Moderate habitual chocolate intake was associated with a lower rate of [heart failure] hospitalization or death.”
Elizabeth Mostofsky, Emily B. Levitan, Alicja Wolk, Murray A. Mittleman. “Chocolate Intake and Incidence of Heart Failure: A Population-Based, Prospective Study of Middle-Aged and Elderly Women.” Circ Heart Fail, Aug. 16, 2010; doi: doi:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.110.944025.