Eating dark chocolate every day could reduce chances of heart attack or stroke in high-risk people, says a new study.
"Our findings indicate dark chocolate therapy could provide an alternative to or be used to complement drug therapeutics in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Ella Zomer, PhD student at Monash University.
According to researchers, eating dark chocolate every day for ten years reduces chances of heart attacks in high risk people with a condition called metabolic syndrome.
"We're not suggesting that the high-risk group use dark chocolate as their only preventative measure, but in combination with sensible choices, such as exercise," Ms Zomer said.
Previous studies have shown that dark chocolate decreases blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity in healthy persons.
The research team made a mathematical model to predict the long term effects of eating dark chocolate.
The research suggested that eating dark chocolate as a way to prevent heart attack is economical. Eating the recommended 100 grams of dark chocolate every day would cost about 25 pounds or $40 a year, according to Reuters.
The best case scenario, assuming that all the people will eat the recommended amount every day for 10 years, would prevent 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal heart attacks every 10,000 people.
However, some experts feel that the therapy might not work or may do more harm than good.
"Recommendations for daily consumption of dark chocolate ... will certainly get people with metabolic syndrome excited, but at this point these findings are more hypothetical than proven, and the results need real-life data to confirm," said Kenneth Ong, Brooklyn Hospital Center in the United States, to Reuters.
Dark chocolate has 60 to 70 percent cocoa and many studies have shown that chocolate protects against heart diseases but many experts believe that the number of participants in the study is usually very small (the present study had analyzed data of less than 2,500 people) and so the results can't be generalized.