How many times have we been faced with the decision about whether to pass or to consume that bar of chocolate, confident that by doing so we have added not only virtue to our lives but also longevity by steering clear of unwanted fats and sugars.
Well for the coco enthusiast a paper out in the late August version of the British Medical Journal may add weight to your preliminary discussion …. it’s good for me.
The researchers found that when they reviewed 7 studies including a total of over 100,000 people they identified a beneficial relationship between chocolate consumption and cardiac risk.
Those who consumed the greatest quantity had a reduction in heart attacks and stroke incidence. Cocoa and chocolate they suggest have antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
This meta-analysis of six cohort studies and one cross sectional study showed increased chocolate intake was significantly associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
This beneficial association was significant for any cardiovascular disease (37% reduction), diabetes (31%), and stroke (29%), but no significant association was found in relation to heart failure.
The authors conclude:
Cocoa products and chocolate have been consumed and enjoyed by humans for centuries. Although over-consumption can have harmful effects, the existing studies generally agree on a potential beneficial association of chocolate consumption with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders. Our findings confirm this, and we found that higher levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a one third reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Corroboration is now required from further studies, especially experimental studies to test causation rather than just association.
 Buitrago-Lopez A, Sanderson J, Johnson L, Warnakula S, Wood A, Di Angelantonio E, Franco O. Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2011; 343:d4488 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d4488 (Published 29 August 2011) View Full Paper