Taking the myth (and, alas, some of the romance) out of chocolate and the heart

Published: February, 2011

The approach of Valentine's Day each year brings the latest crop of "chocolate is good for your heart" articles. We would all like to believe that a sweet treat protects the heart and arteries. But that notion isn't completely supported by the evidence.

Some studies show a strong connection between eating chocolate and less heart disease. In a survey of nearly 5,000 American adults, those who said they ate chocolate five times a week were 40% less likely to have ever had a heart attack or to have needed an artery-opening procedure (Clinical Nutrition, December 2010). A similar trend was seen in a large German study. In these types of studies, though, it is impossible to tell if eating chocolate protects the heart and arteries or if people who eat chocolate also do other things that are responsible for this protection.

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