06/30/2009 - News

Dark Chocolate Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

By: June Chen, MD

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Eating dark chocolate can significantly reduce levels of a protein that is linked to the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study published in the October 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition .

Dark chocolate contains high concentrations of flavanoids, which have antioxidant qualities and may also have anti-inflammatory properties. C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein which is increased in inflammation, has been linked to the risk of cardiovascular disease. In this study, Italian researchers identified 1317 healthy individuals who did not eat any chocolate and 824 people who regularly consumed dark chocolate. They found that eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate can significantly reduce levels of CRP and potentially reduce cardiovascular risk in both men and women.

What constitutes a moderate amount? A small square of chocolate two to three times a week seems to lower CRP concentrations significantly compared to both no chocolate consumption and eating larger amounts. The researchers speculate that eating too much chocolate might result in increases in fat and calories that overcome the effects of the antioxidant properties.

Previous research showed that moderate consumption of dark chocolate might also lower blood pressure.

Source

J. Nutr. 2008 138: 1939-1945.

Created on: 10/07/2008
Reviewed on: 06/30/2009

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