The health benefits of chocolate keep accumulating. Research has shown that dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, and the flavonoids in chocolate can make blood platelets less sticky, so they are not as susceptible to clotting. Now a review of other studies suggests that chocolate lovers may be less likely to suffer a stroke.
In one study of more than 40,000 subjects, those who had at least one helping of chocolate each week were 22 percent less likely to experience a stroke than people who never ate chocolate. In another study of more than 1,000 people, those who ate 50 grams of chocolate every week had a 46 percent lower risk of dying if they suffered a stroke than people who avoid chocolate. A third study found no association between chocolate consumption and the risk of stroke.
Although it is plausible that chocolate might exert protective benefits, the authors caution that the studies they have reviewed are not randomized controlled trials. Perhaps people who eat chocolate have other healthy behaviors that protect them from stroke. The conclusion: more research is needed. Who wants to volunteer?
[American Academy of Neurology’s 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010]