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]

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  1. Susan Parrington
    Kingston, WA

    I would guess the 40,000 folks were involved in the Swedish study cited in other posts. The consumption was self-reported, which is problematic, but the information is still useful. 90% of the chocolate the Swedes consume is milk chocolate, not dark.

    I, too, get migraines triggered by dark chocolate. They seem to be associated, unfortunately, with some of the supposed ‘higher grade’ chocolates and especially with particular types and brands of luxury chocolates. I think some of us may be hypersensitive to something in cacao, perhaps even something otherwise beneficial, just as we may be hypersensitive to caffeine.

  2. coskier

    Susie is right, 9 out of 10 people eat chocolate and Americans consume about 10 lbs. a year (Europeans consume about 12 lbs. a year). You should consume a healthy dark chocolate that is cold pressed, not heated, which retains 100% of the antioxidants from the number one super food — the cacao bean.
    If you have migraines from chocolate, your body may be reacting to the refined sugar, trans fats, waxes, or fillers put in commercial grade chocolate.

  3. Susie

    Are You Serious?? What a poorly designed study! In order for the test with 40,000 subjects to have meaning, wouldn’t there have to be half of them that said they NEVER ate chocolate?? Where would you ever find 20,000 people who were truthful when they said they didn’t eat chocolate? Not in America that’s for sure ;o)
    Somebody’s smoking something… Over what time period? And who (if they do eat chocolate) knows if they eat 1 “helping” a week?? HAHA… Sounds like the ideal study for undergraduates! Sign me up!

  4. oldetimer

    The TYPE of chocolate is not specified. My understanding is that dark chocolate is very much better than milk chocolate (if indeed the latter has any benefit at all). In the studies quoted, was the type of chocolate identified?

  5. Pauline

    Of course everyone loves chocolate. My favorite is dark chocolate. But what can you do when it triggers migraine?

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