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Eating dark chocolate daily may reduce risk for heart disease

(Media Credit/Tom Morris via Wikimedia Commons)

A piece of dark chocolate a day could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in some people, finds a study published Thursday in BMJ.

The 10-year Australian study looked at 2,013 people with metabolic syndrome, a combination of medical disorders that puts them at high risk for heart disease and diabetes. Participants had high blood pressure, but had no history of heart disease or diabetes, and were not undergoing blood pressure-lowering therapy.

Using a mathematical model, researchers found that a 10-year daily consumption of dark chocolate, which contains at least 60% cocoa, could reduce the number of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, by 85 per 10,000 people.

Dark chocolate contains flavanoids, which have been found to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The study’s authors conclude that “daily dark chocolate consumption could be an effective cardiovascular preventive strategy” for people with metabolic syndrome.