The study of over 19,000 people, published in the European Heart Journal is a chocolate lovers dream, reporting that those who indulged in half a bar a week had both a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes plus lower blood pressure.
The objective of the study was to compare the health of those who ate the most chocolate with those who ate the least, by following its middle-aged male and female participants for a period of eight years.
Although the difference between the two groups stood at only one small square of chocolate per day, researchers were surprised to find that by eating this small amount participants could cut heart attack risks by a quarter and cut stroke risk by half.
The authors of the study have stressed that despite these positive effects people should not increase their overall intake of calories or stop eating healthy foods.
Dietician expert, Victoria Taylor from the British Heart Foundation stresses the importance of looking into the ‘small print’ of the study, especially with Easter approaching and a plethora of chocolate Easter eggs.
“The amounts consumed on average by even the highest consumers was about one square of chocolate a day or half a small chocolate Easter egg in a week, so the benefits were associated with a fairly small amount of chocolate.