Choco­late found to re­duce risk of stroke in men

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - By Melissa Healy

WASH­ING­TON — Ladies, don’t bog­art that choco­late! Pass it on to the men.

A new study finds that com­pared with men who re­ported eat­ing lit­tle-tono choco­late on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, those who had the high­est weekly con­sump­tion of choco­late — about 63 grams per week, or just a lit­tle more than 2 ounces — re­duced their like­li­hood of suf­fer­ing a stroke by 17 per cent.

The lat­est find­ings, pub­lished in the jour­nal Neu­rol­ogy, are drawn from a pop­u­la­tion of 37,103 Swedish men, whose age ranged from 45 to 79 at the start of an av­er­age fol­low-up pe­riod of about 10 years. The study fills out a pic­ture of choco­late con­sump­tion, es­pe­cially of dark choco­late, that has firmly demon­strated car­dio­vas­cu­lar ben­e­fits for women. For men, how­ever, re­search on choco­late’s health ben­e­fits had been less con­sis­tent in its find­ings.

The Neu­rol­ogy study, re­leased Wed­nes­day, also cites the re­sults of a meta­anal­y­sis (a study that pieces to­gether the find­ings of sim­i­lar but in­de­pen­dent stud­ies) of choco­late con­sump­tion and stroke risk in both men and women. That study found that for men and women com­bined, those who ate the most choco­late drove down their stroke risk by about 19 per cent.

The pre­cise mech­a­nism by which choco­late works such charms is not known. Reg­u­lar choco­late con­sump­tion has been shown to lower blood pres­sure and im­prove the health and ef­fi­ciency of blood ves­sels.

A food with such pow­ers (it is also con­sid­ered an aphro­disiac) should be eaten by ev­ery­one, right?

Well, not ex­actly. In ad­di­tion to be­ing a rich source of flavenoids, choco­late is a rich source of fat and calo­ries. And, to be­labour the ob­vi­ous, tak­ing in too much will cause weight gain, which, in turn, can raise stroke and heart at­tack risk. Ex­perts sug­gest that, as with wine — an­other highly palat­able and po­tent source of flavenoids — re­search like this should of­fer re­as­sur­ance to those who al­ready eat choco­late reg­u­larly and aren’t over­weight or obese. But for those look­ing to re­duce stroke risk, eat­ing more fruits, veg­eta­bles and legumes is a lower-calo­rie way to get the same ben­e­fits.

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