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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.

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Too much calcium bad for the heart, study finds

Calcium supplements. (Media Credit/Ragesoss via Wikimedia Commons)

Too much calcium in one’s diet could raise the risk of a heart attack, new research suggests.

During an 11-year European cancer and nutrition study, Swiss scientists looked at the health of 24,000 participants, MSNBC reports. The results of the study were published Wednesday in Heart, a British cardiology journal.

The study found that in some people calcium protected against heart disease, but that there was an increased number of heart attacks among those who consumed a large amount of calcium.

Dr. Ethel Siris of New York-Presbyterian Columbia told MSNBC that “People think more is better,” but in this case, “more is not better. Enough is enough.”

MSNBC reports that 22 percent of American adults take calcium supplements. The FDA recommends that adults aged 19 to 50 consume 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily, and that adults over 50 consume 1,200 mg. The FDA says that the average American doesn’t get enough calcium, but warns that more than 2,500 mg of calcium a day is “too much.”