Learn how CHRISTUS Health is keeping you and your family's health our #1 priority amid the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. Learn More

Chocolate Lowers a Woman's Risk for Stroke

Chocolate lovers, this is good news for you: a new study being released next week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says eating chocolate can lower your risk of a stroke by up to 20 percent.        

"Chocolate consumption is correlated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events across the board, not just stroke but heart attacks and other types of cardiac events as well," says Trinity Mother Francis Hospital's Chief of Cardiology Dr. Fagg Sanford.

As it turns out, chocolate—especially dark chocolate—has a lot of good qualities. It suppresses "bad" chocolate and has flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties.   

"It has sort of a calming effect on you," said Pam Gabriel, owner of The Sweet Gourmet in Tyler. "Even combined with red wine the health benefits are significant."

The study doesn't give women an excuse to eat as much chocolate as they want, but it does say that women who eat 2.3 ounces of chocolate a week -- about as much as this candy bar -- have a 20 percent less risk of stroke than women who eat little or no chocolate.

"If you look at how common stroke becomes in both sexes but especially in women, 20 percent is a major risk reduction," said Dr. Sanford. "That's the kind of risk reduction we look for when we're treating cholesterol or we're treating high blood pressure."

Pam Gabriel sees chocolate "connoisseurs" every day who say they shop for and eat chocolate for their health.   

"The true chocolate lovers that are coming in for health benefits know what they want and they've studied, they've done their homework. They believe in it," she said.

As with any study, Dr. Sanford calls for moderation, especially when considering caloric intake.   

"There's probably always such a thing as too much of a good thing," he said.