Chocolate saves lives

We have long been aware of the health benefits of red wine.

Nothing more excellent or valuable than wine was ever granted by the Gods to man

Plato

Epidemiological studies have consistently shown protective effects in terms of risk of heart disease and stroke at low to moderate intakes (1-2 standard drinks/day).

One of the most studied antioxidants, reservatrol has been shown to limit free radical oxidative damage to healthy cells. It also may have beneficial antiplatelet and anti-inflammatory effects.

Of course alcohol itself causes oxidative damage among other problems not the least of which are social and psychological ills.

A recent study in the European Heart Journal gives us a new reason to enjoy some of life’s little pleasures. German researchers followed almost 20,000 participants (as part of a larger cancer epidemiology study) over 10 years and had them document their chocolate intake.

They found that the quartile with the highest average chocolate intake had a 27% reduced risk of heart attack and 48% reduced risk of stroke compared to the group with the lowest chocolate intake.

This is great news for those who like chocolate. It gives free license to go out and gorge on it. Or not….. the difference between the high intake and low intake groups was 6 grams of chocolate – roughly one small square of a 100g block.

As stated by Frank Ruschitzka, Professor of Cardiology, Director of Heart Failure/Transplantation at the University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland.

Before you rush to add dark chocolate to your diet, be aware that 100g of dark chocolate contains roughly 500 calories. As such, you may want to subtract an equivalent amount of calories, by cutting back on other foods, to avoid weight gain.

So it’s OK to eat chocolate as long as you avoid other foods. Got it? Good.

I’m off to have a glass of red wine…

Emergency Physician, FACEM. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital |@JmsWntn | Linkedin

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