Dark chocolate good for your heart?  

An Australian study has shown that eating certain quantities of cocoa (present in dark chocolate) can reduce your chance of stroke or heart attack.

The team of researchers at Monash University, Melbourne surveyed over 2000 people who possessed high risk factors for contracting heart disease.

Researchers observed male and female participants over 10 years and discovered a correlation between eating 100g of dark chocolate a day and a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack.

The dark chocolate must be made with a minimum 70 per cent cocoa to have such benefits.

Using a mathematical model, researchers deduced that eating 100g of dark chocolate each day could prevent 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events per 10,000 people over a 10-year period.

This cheap and cheerful treatment could help the 30 per cent of Australians at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dark chocolate is high in flavanoids, which help protect bodily cells from free radicals, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol, in turn helping to prevent heart problems.

The study was the first to examine the long-term health benefits of flavanoids, which the researchers believe play a key role in preventing heart disease.

“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,” said researcher Ella Zomer. “We're not suggesting that the high-risk group use dark chocolate as their only preventative measure, but in combination with sensible choices, such as exercise."

Well Naturally Sugar Free Dark Chocolate is made with 70 per cent cocoa solids, making it high in beneficial flavanoids.

Well Naturally Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Rich Dark.

Dark chocolate also boasts anti-inflammatory properties.

“The natural cocoa fat (not to be confused with bad fats) in chocolate is made up of the following fatty acids in equal proportions: oleic (the same as that found in olive oil), stearic and palmitic,” explained food scientist Wladimir Budnik. “Unlike most saturated fatty acids, these fatty acids when combined have no impact on the production of cholesterol in the blood stream, in particular the Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), commonly referred to as "bad" cholesterol.”

Indeed, numerous studies have shown that consumption of chocolate has no impact on blood cholesterol and indeed some studies have shown that consumption of chocolate can promote the production of moderate quantities of High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) commonly referred to as "good" cholesterol.

So go on - have your health, and eat chocolate too!