Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk

Finnish researchers found that eating chocolate also reduces the risk of stroke, a major health concern for many — especially those with atrial fibrillation (afib). Stroke risk is five times higher in people with afib than in those who don’t have afib, according to the National Stroke Association. And stroke, which occurs when a blood clot forms in the brain or a blood vessel bursts, is a leading cause of disability in the United States.

The Finnish researchers followed a group of more than 37,000 men for 10 years, counting instances of stroke. Those who ate about 63 g (2 oz) of chocolate per week had a lower risk of stroke, compared with those who ate no chocolate. And five additional studies showed chocolate eaters had about a 20 percent average lower stroke risk than those who didn’t eat chocolate. “Dark chocolate helps reduce blood pressure and may have a role in coronary artery disease stability and diabetes,” says Bunch. “So dark chocolate may help lower stroke risk.” But Bunch warns that you shouldn’t replace prescription blood thinners or anticoagulants — the only treatments proven to prevent stroke — with chocolate.

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