We love chocolate and for years, researchers have been finding ways for chocolate to love us back. In the past, we've found out that chocolate (the darker the better) is actually filled with antioxidants, has anti-clotting properties (much like aspirin), and can lower blood pressure. Not to mention the fact that the mere thought of ending the day with a square of chocolate can lower stress and bring us immense amounts of pleasure.
Now, from Sweden, comes scientific proof that eating chocolate can prevent strokes in men.
The American Academy of Neurology has released a study from the Karolinska Institute in Stokholm, which found that men who ate chocolate had lower instances of stroke then men who didn't indulge in the sweet treat.
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The findings were complied from a study in which 37,103 Swedish men between the ages of 49 and 75 were asked to keep track of various food and drink in a questionnaire. Over the course of ten years, researchers found that the men who consumed the most chocolate (about the equivalent of a third of a cup of chocolate chips) per week, had a lower risk of stroke compared to those who didn't eat any chocolate at all. In numbers, that comes out to about a 17 percent lower risk of stroke for chocolaholics.
What's in chocolate that helps prevent strokes? Susana C. Larsson Ph.D. at the Karolinska Institute, who authored the study, explains, "The beneficial effect of chocolate consumption on stroke may be related to the flavonoids in chocolate. Flavonoids appear to be protective against cardiovascular disease through antioxidant, anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties. It's also possible that flavonoids in chocolate may decrease blood concentrations of bad cholesterol and reduce blood pressure."
So, while it's still no excuse to trade in your prescriptions for a Hershey bar, it is a great excuse for adding a few nibbles-worth of chocolate to your diet.