London: Here’s some good news for chocolate lovers – eating your favourite sweet once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart failure, says a US study.
The Boston study looked at nearly 32,000 Swedish women aged between 48 and 83 over nine years.
Researchers found that one or two 19 to 30 gram servings of dark chocolate a week led to a 32 percent reduction in heart failure risk.
This fell to 26 percent when one to three servings a month were eaten.
But those who ate chocolate every day did not appear to reduce their risk of heart failure at all.
Whilst antioxidants in chocolate may be helpful to your heart, they can also be found in fruit and veg - foods which don`t come with the saturated fat and high calories”
The researchers conclude the protective effect of eating chocolate reduces as more or less is eaten than the optimum one to two servings a week.
Too much chocolate is unhealthy because it contains high levels of sugar and fat, which can make people put on weight, the researchers said.
But chocolate also contains high concentration of compounds called flavonoids, which can lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease, previous studies have found.
"You can`t ignore that chocolate is a relatively calorie-dense food and large amounts of habitual consumption is going to raise your risks for weight gain,” the BBC quoted Dr Murray Mittleman, study leader and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, as saying.
"But if you`re going to have a treat, dark chocolate is probably a good choice, as long as it``s in moderation," Mittleman added.
The study appears in a journal of the American Heart Association.