Because the Holidays Often Mean Being Surrounded by Chocolate – The Latest on Chocolate and Your Health!

Original Post By: Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer at LiveScience

For Some, A Bit of Chocolate May Help Lower Risk of Heart Problems

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Eating chocolate on a regular basis may reduce people’s risk of heart problems, particularly among those with obesity, a large new study suggests.

The study analyzed information from nearly 150,000 U.S. veterans who participated in the Million Veteran Program, a large study that tracks veterans and their health over time. Among these participants, the average age was 64 years, and 90 percent were men. At the start of the study, none of the participants had coronary artery disease (CAD), a type of heart disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

The participants were asked how often they ate a 1-ounce (28 grams) serving of plain chocolate (without extras such as nuts or caramel added). They were then followed to see if they experienced heart problems or “events” related to coronary artery disease, such as chest pain, a heart attack or heart failure.

After about 2.5 years, 4,055 people experienced a CAD-related event. Overall, the rates of these heart events per 1,000 people were as follows: 11.8 events among those who didn’t consume any chocolate, 10.5 events among those who consumed 1 ounce of chocolate once per month, 10.1 events among those who consumed 1 ounce of chocolate once per week, 10.1 events among those who consumed 1 ounce of chocolate two to four times per week and 9.7 events among those who consumed 1 ounce of chocolate five or more times per week. [Top 10 Amazing Facts About Your Heart]

After the researchers took into account factors that might affect a person’s risk of CAD — such as age, sex, race, physical activity levels and smoking habits — they found that eating a 1-ounce serving of chocolate five or more times a week was linked with an 11 percent decrease in the risk of CAD-related events. (Eating chocolate less frequently was not linked with a reduced risk of CAD-related events.)

The findings show that “there is a little bit of benefit” to eating chocolate regularly, in terms of lowering the risk of…

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