Dark chocolate heart benefit quantified by Australian medical researchers
An Australian study from Monash University, published by the British Medical Journal last Friday (1 June 2012), has quantified the effect of dark chocolate on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The study states that dark chocolate may offer an economical and appealing medical intervention strategy for the 30% of Australians at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study, which was co-authored by PhD student Ella Zomer, Professor Christopher Reid, Dr Alice Owen and Dr Dianna Magliano from Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, and Professor Danny Liew from The University of Melbourne, predicted that daily dark chocolate consumption could prevent 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events per 10,000 people over a 10-year period.
The researchers used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects and cost-effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2,013 people already at high risk of heart disease. Participants had no history of heart disease or diabetes and were not on blood pressure-lowering therapy. At present there are no long-term trials available investigating the effect of chocolate on cardiovascular health and disease, and therefore the best estimate of a long-term effect can be gained by mathematical modelling.
Findings suggested that investing $42 per person per year on dark chocolate-related health strategies, including advertising and promotion, would be beneficial to the wider population in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.