Chocolate consumption and risk of stroke: a prospective cohort of men and meta-analysis.
Chocolate consumption has been associated with beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. This is thought to be due to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet effects. Furthermore, chocolate has been shown to affect LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), endothelial function and reduce blood pressure. All of these are risk factors for stroke. The current study explores the effects of chocolate consumption on stroke in men.
37,103 men between the ages of 49-75 completed a questionnaire concerning their lifestyle habits including their chocolate consumption. Follow-up occurred after the first stroke (~10 years). The stroke events were classified as cerebral infarction, intracerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage or unspecified stroke. In addition, a meta-analysis was carried out which included results from the current study as well as 4 previous studies exploring chocolate and stroke risk.
The results of this study showed that chocolate consumption in men was associated with a reduced risk of stroke. Men with a higher consumption of chocolate actually showed a 17% lower risk of stroke. In addition, the meta-analysis showed similar results (19% lower risk). The main limitation of this study was the self-report of chocolate consumption and the lack of chocolate type consumed. Otherwise, the large sample size provides evidence that indeed chocolate may reduce the risk of stroke. > From: Larsson et al., Neurology 79 (2012) 1223-1229. All rights reserved to AAN Enterprises.
The Pubmed summary of the article can be found here.