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Wow, more benefits from chocolate! In addition to helping lower blood pressure, the incidence of stroke and heart attack and lower mortality in coronary artery disease, chocolate has now been shown to lower the risk of heart failure. Read here to learn about heart failure. In an article on MSN recently summarized a paper published in Circulation: Heart Failure called Chocolate Intake and Incidence of Heart Failure: A Population-Based, Prospective Study of Middle-Aged and Elderly Women.

Here is a link to the MSN article and one to the PDF of the paper published in Circulation. The paper basically reviewed data from the Swedish Mammography Cohort. According to their website, “The Swedish Mammography Cohort is a large population-based cohort of over 60,000 women aimed to assess relationships between a number of modifiable factors and the occurrence of several major chronic diseases. ” In this paper, data from 31,823 Swedish women was reviewed.

It basically found that eating 1-3 servings of dark chocolate each month lowered the rate of heart failure hospitalization or death by 26%. Eating 1-2 dark chocolate servings in a week lowered it by 32%. Interestingly, women who ate dark chocolate 3-6 times each week and those who ate it daily had increased rates of 9% and 23% respectively. They estimate that it is the flavanoids  in chocolate that is responsible for this health benefit.

They state that Flavanoids may protect against LDL oxidation through increased antioxidant capacity and diminished production of oxidative products in plasma. Ahhhh…. . good ol’ antioxidants.

Here are several interesting snippets from the MSN article: Chocolate in Sweden is held to different quality standards than in the United States, but there are still characteristics one should look for when choosing chocolate, Mittleman said. The chocolate measured in this study was mostly high-quality dark chocolate without a lot of added sugar, though it was commercially available, he said. And the higher the cocoa content, the better. The cocoa content of the chocolate consumed by the women in this study was about 30 percent whereas, in the United States, dark chocolate is only required to contain 15 percent cocoa solids.

And 20 to 30 grams would be about half-to-two-thirds of an average American candy bar, Mittleman said. I think this is a good paper with a large population of subjects. It is limited as there are no men in the study, and it is difficult to know if this is cause and effect or just an association between chocolate and heart failure. That being said, it is hard thing to study – think randomizing people to eat chocolate vs.

plabeco. In the end it all sits well with me because I love chocolate. Now……if I could just cut down to 1-2 servings in a week and make sure the chocolate had a cocoa concentration of 30% or more! Does it make you want to eat more dark chocolate or what!

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