Scientists conducted a study examining the association between chocolate and heart failure in 32,000 Swedish participants between the ages of 48 to 83.
They concluded that one of two 19 to 30 gramme servings each week led to a 32 per cent risk reduction of developing the condition. However the positive effects only came into play if consumption was kept at a moderate level. The risk reduction feel to 26 per cent when one to three serving a month were eaten, while one serving each day showed no benefit.
The quality of the chocolate is also a factor as the amount of health cocoa solids contained in each chocolate bar varies a great deal. Dark chocolate can contain as much as 75 per cent cocoa, whilst some milk chocolates have as little as 20 per cent or less.
Researchers believe the positive effect comes from an antioxidant plant compound called flavonoids, which appear in cocoa. These flavonoids are believed to protect against heart disease and high blood pressure.
Study leader, Dr Murray Mittleman has said: “If you’re going to have a treat, dark chocolate is probably a good choice, as long as it’s in moderation.”