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Hand me another chocolate bar, but make it Swedish milk chocolate! Those bars have higher percentages of antioxidant rich cocoa solid than American milk chocolate bars. And when the concentration hits about 30%, it’s good news for chocolate lovers and our health.

Swedish researchers’ evaluated women who claimed to eat two small chocolate bars a week and found a link to lower level of stroke compared to women who did not eat chocolate bars. Basically, a small amount of chocolate reduced the risk of hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke. You can review the study in the Oct 18th issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The results make sense given past studies have found a reduction of blood pressure among chocolate consumers.  Since hypertension relates to stroke, this makes sense.

But before you load up on chocolate treats for Halloween and then justify downing the left overs, be sensible.

1) Note the differences in Swedish and American chocolate. You might want to stick to dark chocolate on this continent. Dark contains more of the antioxidants and is lower on sugar.

2) Note I said the subjects “claimed” to eat two bars a week. That is because the study was based on self-reports. People had to accurately report what they ate and well, we don’t always do that!

3) If you add chocolate to your diet, cut back on other calories. Calories are still calories and can add to weight gain.

That said, bring on the chocolate bars! We need to engage in a little self-care!

 

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