Scientists To Explore If Chocolate Reduces Risk Of Stroke


On the eve of the Valentine's Day - an occasion marked by the sale and consumption of plentiful volumes of chocolates, scientists in Canada circulated an appraisal of researches to evaluate the fact if consumption of chocolate is by any means related to a diminished risk of heart ailments, especially stroke. According to information, the researchers examined 88 journals on the subject and finally concentrated on three publications that were more pertinent.

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Interestingly enough, even after examining so many research papers, the scientists were not content with their findings. While Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, a neurologist with the St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, who claims to be a chocoholic (a lover of chocolates who is virtually addicted to it) clarified that it is unable to deduce anything from the review of the earlier research papers, Sarah Sahib, the study author who is from the McMaster University in Hamilton and worked all along with Dr. Saposnik, emphasized that there was need for further studies to decide if consumption of chocolate was actually helpful in reducing the risks of stroke or it was a fact that compared to others, people who were healthy simply consumed more chocolates.

Findings of a research printed in the 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined over 34,000 women in the postmenstrual stage in the Iowa Women's Health Study, came across the fact that people who consumed at least one serving of chocolate every week had a 22 per cent lower risk of having a stroke in comparison to people who did not consume chocolate at all.

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Again, the findings of a research made public in the Journal of Internal Medicine in 2009 and entailed over 1,100 Swedish people discovered that people who consumed 50 grams of chocolate once every seven days faced 46 per cent lower risks of succumbing to a stroke when compared to people who never ever consumed chocolate. Interestingly, the third publication selected by the Canadian researchers did not detect any relation between chocolate consumption and the hazards of stroke or death owing to the heart ailment. In fact, even the findings of the first two research papers merely established a relation between consumption of chocolate and having stroke, but did not specify anything like consumption of chocolate reduced or enhanced the risks of a stroke.

And, according to Dr. Saposnik, these were significant limitations of all these studies. The scientist, a self-proclaimed chocoholic points out that the findings of these earlier researches present a few perplexing aspects. Substantiating his view, Dr. Saposnik said that these studies did not include what the subjects consumed in addition to chocolate during the period of the researches. In addition, the participants of these researches did not mention the precise type of chocolate they consumed and there might be variations in the kind of chocolates eaten by them, the scientist points out. At the same time, Dr Saposnik emphasized that there is a lot of disparity between consuming milk chocolate, white chocolate and dark chocolate, as their composition is vastly dissimilar. Hence, they are likely to have different impacts on our health vis-à-vis having a stroke, he added.

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Chocolates, especially the dark chocolates, enclose flavonoids - chemical substances that possess antioxidant characteristics and are present in a range of vegetables, fruits, tea and red wine in different amounts. As flavonoids have antioxidant properties, they are able to neutralize the harmful free radicals produced in the body and help us to avoid numerous ailments and thereby, remain healthy.

Meanwhile, referring to long-standing risks to cardio-vascular ailments owing to consumption of chocolates, Dr. Saposnik asserted that chocolates enclose a number of elements like saturated fat, which are related to the escalation of bad cholesterol, also called LDL cholesterol.

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Before wrapping up discussion on this subject, it may be mentioned that though he claims to be a chocoholic, Dr. Saposnik has advised against consumption of chocolates. At the same time, he said that he only tries to eat chocolates 'within limits' and prefers dark chocolates as they are low in fat content. On the other hand, among the several recommendations of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in diminishing the hazards of stroke, the organization has stressed on the consumption of a well-adjusted diet that has higher fruit and vegetable content. At the same time, it is essential to decrease the amount of saturated as well as trans fats, lower consumption of sodium and increase intake of fiber.

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