Could chocolate be a sweet defense against stroke?

Around Halloween, you might find yourself surrounded by sugary treats. If you need to cave for something, a study provides an additional reason why you should opt for chocolate.

Around Halloween, you might find yourself surrounded by sugary treats. If you need to cave for something, a study provides an additional reason why you should opt for chocolate.

Swedish researchers observed that chocolate consumption is associated with a reduced risk of stroke in women. To reach this conclusion, the scientists asked over 33,000 healthy women to complete a questionnaire about their lifestyle and food preferences in 1997. Among the women selected, 1,549 suffered a stroke at some point in the 10 years following their involvement in the study.

After analyzing the data in the questionnaires, the researchers noted that the risk of having a stroke was 20 percent lower in women who consumed the most chocolate (i.e. 66.5 grams per week, or two-thirds of a chocolate bar) compared with those who consumed little or no chocolate.

This type of study does not show an indisputable causal relationship. We do know, however, that cocoa contains flavonoids, which are compounds with antioxidant properties. In addition, findings from earlier studies suggest that chocolate helps lower blood pressure, reduce insulin resistance and prevent blood clots.

At the time when this study was conducted, most of the chocolate consumed in Sweden was milk chocolate containing at least 30 percent cocoa solids, which is a higher cocoa concentration than many of the products marketed by our big companies. Chocolate in Europe generally contains more cocoa solids and less sugar than what we find in Canada.

We must bear in mind that chocolate is high in calories, fat and sugar. However, if you’re looking for a little sweet treat, a little piece of dark chocolate is a much better option than many other types of candy

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