Monday, February 27, 2006

Chocolate still good for you

Another study on chocolate-y goodness visits a grateful world .

A 15-year longitudinal study of the elderly in Holland showed a strong correlation between cocoa intake and lower blood pressure. That is, cocoa intake is inversely associated with high BP and poor cardiovascular health. Here's the study itself.

Note that the actual decrease in BP the researchers found was quite small (2-4 mm Hg), but the relative risk is .5, meaning a little cocoa cut related health risks in half for the people being studied. Woo hoo! Even if I weren't nuts about chocolate, that strikes me as impressive. However, note that these were really old dudes, I mean, subjects (65-85). In fact, about half of them died by the end of the study. Your mileage may vary.

This is not the first good study on chocolate: one last year highlighted the flavanoids as good for you, and there have been others. Presumably it's a lot more fun for medical researchers to study chocolate intake than, say, slicing open rat tumors. To bring giddy chocoholics back to reality, do know that chocolate has about the same calories as the equivalent amount of butter. You can't live on it, although heaven knows that I have tried.

Chocolate is my most expensive vice, and knowing that it will extend my life a wee bit makes it all the more delicious. In related news, I think Gary Guittard should be nominated for the Nobel Prize.

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