There's a tendency to avoid chocolate when we are looking after our health, but it turns out a small dose of this sweet treat could be very good for us.
Eating up to 100g of chocolate each day is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, according to research published in the journal Heart.
By studying the answers given by 21,000 men and women on a series of lifestyle questionnaires, researchers from EPIC-Norfolk concluded that a higher level of consumption is associated with youth, lower body weight, healthier blood pressure, fewer cases of diabetes and more physical activity.
Overall, this meant eating more chocolate was linked to an 11 per cent lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease and a 23 per cent lower risk of suffering stroke.
This doesn't definitely mean eating more chocolate is good for you, though – it might be the case that people who are naturally healthier eat more chocolate. But one thing is for certain – eating it in small doses won't damage your health.
The paper's researchers say:
This may indicate that not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association.There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk.