Eating dark chocolate each day could be beneficial for people who are at risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to new research.
We're already aware that eating the dark stuff can help protect against high blood pressure and cut the risk of diabetes.
Although regular chocolate eating doesn't work quite as well as drugs, the researchers say it has virtually no side effects, and perhaps not surprisingly 'high rates of complaince'.
A team of researchers from Australia used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health impact of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2,013 people with a condition known as metabolic syndrome, which puts them at high risk of heart disease.
The team found that in the best case scenario - with no patient missing any daily portions - the treatment could potentially avert 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal heart attacks or strokes per 10,000 people over 10 years.
"Dark chocolate may be a pleasant and effective way of delivering important dietary components that can provide health benefits to the ever increasing numbers of people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease," says researcher Christopher M. Reid, PhD, professor of cardiovascular epidemiology and preventive medicine at Monash University in Australia, to Boots Web MD.
Publishing their findings in the British Medical Journal, the researchers said daily dark chocolate consumption could be a cost-effective strategy, costing just £25 per person per year.
The beneficial effects of eating plain dark chocolate 'could represent an effective and cost-effective strategy for people with metabolic syndrome (and no diabetes)', they concluded.