Chocolate lowers the risk of stroke



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Chocolate lowers the risk of stroke in women

Chocolate has always been said to have health-promoting effects. Several studies have already shown that regular moderate consumption of preferably dark chocolate has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. A recent Swedish long-term study has now shown that the risk of stroke if women eat a lot of chocolate is reduced.

A study published by Swedish scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm today showed that eating chocolate can significantly reduce the risk of stroke. Earlier studies had shown that eating chocolate regularly had a positive effect on blood pressure. The study leader Susanna Larsson said in the journal "Journal of the American College of Cardiology" that previous work has been shown to lower blood pressure, but "our study is the first to establish a clear context between chocolate and stroke".

The higher the chocolate consumption, the lower the number of strokes
During the course of the study, the researchers asked about 33,000 Swedish women between the ages of 49 and 83 about their everyday eating habits in 1997. Participants should use a questionnaire to indicate how often they ate chocolate on average each year before. In addition, 95 other foods in the questionnaire were queried. In the following ten years, 1,600 subjects experienced an apoplexy. While other risk factors such as age, weight and previous illnesses were included in the calculation, the scientists found that most women who had a stroke consumed the least chocolate with zero to eight grams per week. Accordingly, the research team was able to determine that the women who suffered the least from a stroke who had the lowest chocolate consumption. In contrast to the other women, study participants who consumed the most chocolate rarely suffered a stroke.

Best dark chocolate
The general medical recommendation is to only eat dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. In this study, however, the researchers did not distinguish between dark dark chocolate and light milk chocolate. In the 1990s, according to statistical surveys, 90 percent of light chocolate was eaten, as study author Larssion emphasized. If the scientists had differentiated between the two varieties in the evaluation, the relationship would have been even more significant, said the researcher. Because it is not the chocolate as such that has a protective effect, but the cocoa it contains. Cocoa contains secondary plant substances (flavonoids), which can also be found in green tea, onions or red wine, for example. They have an antioxidant effect, are considered radical scavengers, support the immune system and are proven to protect against cardiovascular diseases. The study author emphasized that the protective effect can very likely also be transferred to men. Further research will now follow. "We expect a similar result," said the conclusion.

Less heart attacks due to chocolate consumption
In August of this year, researchers from the University of Cambridge, England, demonstrated that the continuous consumption of chocolate minimizes the risk of serious heart and vascular diseases (chocolate protects against heart attacks). Subjects who consumed a lot of cocoa showed a 37 percent lower risk of heart diseases such as heart attacks. Here, too, it was determined that the risk of stroke decreased by 29 percent if the participants consumed a lot of chocolate. The plant dyes are responsible for this, they bind very reactive, cell-damaging substances, so-called free radicals. However, the researchers warned of excessive consumption of commercially available chocolate. Depending on the disposition, this produces overweight and "Obesity is considered a risky factor for the formation of high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases." Therefore, the consumption of preferably dark chocolate should be moderate, the recommendation. (sb)

Also read:
Chocolate for skin care?
Migraines: stress or chocolate are not triggers
Red wine and chocolate, the new cancer killers?
Chocolate with valuable antioxidants
Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure
Chocolate protects against heart attacks

Image: Simone Hainz / pixelio.de

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