Chocolate good for heart health, study says

This just in in time for Easter (or Passover--don't forget the chocolate macaroons): Chocolate decreases your chance of having cardiovascular problems.

A new study published in the European Heart Journal indicates that consuming as little as one square of chocolate a day helps reduce chances of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.

The Guardian explains:

They believe that flavanols, substances in cocoa that boost the body's supply of nitric oxide, contribute to the chocolate eaters' lowered blood pressure.

The new research confirms an association which other studies have made. The lower likelihood of stroke may be due to cocoa increasing the flow of blood around the brain, the authors say.

The study was conducted with more than 19,000 German citizens over more than 10 years.

And lest you think the news merits license to eat chocolate eggs with reckless abandon, the British Heart Foundation's senior heart health nurse kindly reminds us: "The amount consumed on average by even the highest consumer was about one square of chocolate a day or half a small chocolate Easter egg in a week, so the benefits were associated with a fairly small amount of chocolate."

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