A new study by Susanna Larsson of the Karolinska POLKADOT CHOCOLATE Institute in Sweden adds to the evidence that moderate chocolate consumption might lower stroke risk – this time, among middle-aged and older men.Larsson writes in the latest edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology: “High chocolate consumption was associated with a lower risk of stroke.”
Previous studies have found links between eating moderate amounts of cocoa-rich chocolate and protection against cardiovascular diseases, but this study is the first to search specifically for links between chocolate and the risk of developing stroke. 37,103 Swedish men aged between 49 and 75 filled in food questionnaires, they were asked about how often they ate chocolate over a decade. Hospital records were used to correlate strokes with chocolate intake.
Men who ate the most chocolate – typically the equivalent of one-third of a cup of chocolate chips – had a 17 percent lower risk of stroke than men who avoided chocolate.
“The beneficial effect of chocolate consumption on stroke may be related to the flavonoids in chocolate,” wrote Susanna Larsson, “through several biological mechanisms, including antioxidant, anti-platelet, and anti-inflammatory effects.”
The study is hardly the first to link chocolate to cardiovascular benefits, with several previous ones suggesting that chocolate fans have lower rates of certain risks for heart disease and stroke, like high blood pressure.
Larsson found similar results for women in a previous study. Of the 37,000 men 1,995 men suffered a first-time stroke. Among men in the top 25 percent for chocolate intake, the stroke rate was 73 per 100,000 men per year. That compared with a rate of 85 per 100,000 among men who ate the least chocolate, report the researchers.