Feb. 11, 2010 -- As if people need another reason to love chocolate, here it is: Eating a little bit of chocolate each week may not only lower the risk of having a stroke, it may also decrease the odds of dying from one.
A new review of recent research on chocolate and stroke risk found at least two large studies are suggestive of the health benefits of chocolate in lowering the risk of stroke. The results will be presented in April at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Toronto.
The first study found 44,489 people who ate one serving of chocolate per week were 22% less likely to have a stroke than people who didn’t eat chocolate.
The second study showed that 1,169 people who ate 50 grams of chocolate once a week were 46% less likely to die after a stroke compared to people who didn’t.
A third study included in the review found no association between chocolate consumption and risk of death from stroke.
Researchers say chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to have a number of health benefits.
"More research is needed to determine whether chocolate truly lowers stroke risk, or whether healthier people are simply more likely to eat chocolate than others," researcher Sarah Sahib, BScCA, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, says in a news release.