A daily dose of chocolate

By • Published: June 3rd, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Break out the truffles! A new study suggests that a dose of chocolate a day could keep a heart attack away.

According to the research, eating one small chocolate square daily could cut your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by nearly forty percent. This doesn’t mean your king-sized milk chocolate bar is suddenly good for you, though. Instead, think small and dark. A piece of chocolate about the size of one and a half Hershey’s kisses did the trick. Also, chocolates with seventy percent cacao were deemed the healthiest.

Researchers in Germany made the tasty discovery after following twenty-thousand people for eight years, quizzing them on their diet and exercise habits.

The idea that eating dark chocolate could be healthy for you is not new, though.

Prior studies have shown that small amounts can improve vascular function. How? It’s Apparently, the flavanols found in chocolate can help widen blood vessels, which leads to a drop in blood pressure. Dark chocolate is also an antioxidant, a type of molecule that helps your body get rid of harmful free radicals.

However, the German study is the first to track the long-term effects of being a chocolate lover.

But listen up chocaholics: Don’t run to your local candy store just yet. Additional research is needed to determine the exact effect chocolate has on the heart.

And one thing is known for sure: Chowing your way through a box of chocolates could lead to weight gain, offsetting any positive heart-healthy benefits.

But when consumed in moderation, chocolate just might make your heart happier.