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health


Can chocolate really be good for you?


By Lisa Salmon


As new research suggests daily consumption of dark chocolate can reduce heart attacks and strokes in high-risk groups, experts discuss whether chocolate is actually good for your health, or just bad for your figure.


A little bit of what you fancy is good for you - and mounting evidence suggests that includes chocolate. For while the melt-in-your-mouth treat is usually packed with sugar, fat and calories and is seen as the ultimate food sin, research suggests it has health benefits ranging from reducing cardiovascular problems and inflammation to improving mood. On the flip side, anti-obesity campaigners point out that the evidence is flimsy, whereas there can be no doubt that obesity causes health problems, and eating lots of chocolate is likely to make people pile on the pounds.


Studies show chocolate could prevent heart attacks...


The latest research, published by scientists at Months University in Australia earlier this month, assessed more than 2,000 people at high risk of heart disease and found that daily consumption of 100g of dark chocolate - equating to one premium-quality block containing a minimum 70% cocoa - could prevent 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke, per 10,000 people over a 10-year period.


The researchers point out that dark chocolate contains polyphenols, specifically flavonoids from the cocoa bean, which are thought to help reduce blood pressure and have anti- inflammatory, antithrombotic and metabolic effects. Researcher Ella Zomer says: “Our findings indicate dark chocolate therapy could provide an alternative to or be used to complement drug therapeutics in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease.”


12 Life Begins


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