Study Hall: Dark chocolate is good for your heart

A new study says not to save eating dark chocolate just for Valentine's Day. Eating it more regularly may lead to less heart disease later in life.

For Study Hall each week, we sort through the deluge of new medical studies and wordy white papers to bring you one that deserves your attention—in plain, healthy English.

You already know that dark chocolate is good for your heart in the “I fall in love with anyone who will give me some” kind of way. But according to a study published in the journal BMJ (British Medical Journal), people who consume dark chocolate on a daily basis may also have less heart disease later in life.

The study: Researchers in Australia wanted to see how dark chocolate consumption could help reduce incidents of cardiovascular disease. They examined data on about 2,000 people, all of whom had high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome, a precursor of heart disease. Using a mathematical model, they predicted how eating dark chocolate on a daily basis would reduce blood pressure and fend off heart disease.

The results: The researchers found that over a 10 year period, people with metabolic syndrome who consumed dark chocolate each day would have a significantly reduced risk of heart disease due to lowered cholesterol and blood pressure.

What it means: Hallmark and the supporters of Valentine’s Day were right all along. (Thank god!) Make high-quality dark chocolate your regular sweet treat (not just in February), if it isn’t already. —Allison Becker

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