Eat Chocolate! Not Just Because You Love It
Chocolate. We "heart" it in all shapes, varieties and sizes: artisanal, upscale standard: Godiva, Ghiradelli; imported - Cadbury, Domori, Lindt; even the low down dastardly delicious American chocolate: Snickers, Almond Joy, M & Ms, Reeses; and of course, from the Pennsylvania chocolate capital, Hershey's. It's irresistible when the "red-eye meanies" strike or the boss is uptight or you've had a day from flatline universe.
Well, crack open that box of Godiva or saunter over to that adorable artisanal cafe that makes its own chocolate truffles and rich chocolate desserts and serves them with cappuccinos and espressos (supposed to decrease risk of depression) and indulge yourself. Chocolate is not only good for the soul and spirit, it is also good for the body reports Serena Gordon of HealthDay (USA Today).
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology released the findings about chocolate as research correspondence in the October 18th issue.
The research begun in 1997 included the sample of over 33,000 Swedish women between 49 and 83 who had no history of stroke, heart disease, cancer or diabetes. They were given a questionnaire that focused over 350 questions on diet and lifestyle.
The study's author Susanna Larsson, an associate professor in the division of nutritional epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, then looked at the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry between 1998 and 2008. Out of that large sample size of women, she found that 1,549 had a stroke, but they were predominately ischemic strokes. For 1200 women, a blocked blood vessel in the brain was unable to get oxygen and blood to other areas of the brain, in effect starving those areas. (Larsson, Virtamo, Wolk) Another 224 women experienced strokes caused by brain hemorrhaging, and 125 women experienced strokes that were not identified.
"We observed that women with the highest consumption of chocolate [an average of about 2.3 ounces per week] had a significant 20 percent lower risk [of stroke] than those who never or rarely consumed chocolate," said Larsson, reported by USA Today.
Why is it possible that women consuming approximately two chocolate bars a week (remember that there is more cocoa in European chocolate than in standard American) had this significantly lower risk of stroke than those who never ate the delicious treat?
According to Larsson, Virtamo and Wolk's letter printed in Journal of the American College of Cardiology,Continued on the next page