Can Eating Dark Chocolate Lower the Risk of Fatal Heart Attacks?

Researchers in Sweden have recently published a study assessing the long-term effects of chocolate consumption on patients with established coronary heart disease.

In the study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers followed 1169 non-diabetic patients hospitalized with a confirmed first heart attack between 1992 and 1994 in Stockholm County, Sweden. Participants completed a questionnaire on their usual chocolate consumption over the preceding 12 months and underwent a health examination 3 months after discharge. Participants were followed for 8 years.

Participants who consumed chocolate twice a week or more were almost 70% less likely to die from future heart attacks than those who rarely ate it. This affect was not found with other sweets.

Study authors noted that this affect is found with only with dark chocolate, high in flavonoids and polyphenols, rather than milk or white chocolate.

SOURCE: Chocolate consumption and mortality following a first acute myocardial infarction: the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program, Janszky, et al, Journal of Internal Medicine, Volume 266 Issue 3, Pages 248 – 257