Dark chocolate could save lives

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ScienceDaily (May 31, 2012) — Daily consumption of dark chocolate can reduce cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in people with metabolic syndrome (a cluster of factors that increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes), finds a study published in the British Medical Journal.

Daily consumption of dark chocolate can reduce cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in people with metabolic syndrome, according to a new study. / Jeremy TAMISIER / Fotolia

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Dark chocolate (containing at least 60% cocoa solids) is rich in flavonoids — known to have heart protecting effects — but this has only been examined in short term studies.

So a team of researchers from Melbourne, Australia used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects and cost effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2,013 people already at high risk of heart disease.

All participants had high blood pressure and met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, but had no history of heart disease or diabetes and were not on blood pressure lowering therapy.

With 100% compliance (best case scenario), the researchers show that daily dark chocolate consumption could potentially avert 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events per 10,000 people treated over 10 years. SEE COMPLETE TEXT.

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