If your are worried about the health of your heart, here's a sweet solution. Researchers have found that eating up to 100 grams of chocolate every day is linked to lower heart disease and stroke risk.
There does not seem to be any evidence for cutting out chocolate to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, the researchers found in the study published online in the journal Heart.
"Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events," the study authors said.
They pointed out that milk chocolates may be just as beneficial for the heart as dark chocolates.
The study by author Chun Shing Kwok from University of Aberdeen in Scotland and colleagues monitored the health of 21,000 adults for almost 12 years. Their average daily consumption was seven gram of chocolate, ranging from none to 100g.
The results showed that compared with those who ate no chocolate higher intake was linked to an 11 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25 percent lower risk of associated death.
It was also associated with a nine percent lower risk of hospital admission or death as a result of coronary heart disease, after taking account of dietary factors.
The highest chocolate intake was similarly associated with a 23 percent lower risk of stroke, even after taking account of other potential risk factors.
The researchers also carried out a systematic review of the available international published evidence on the links between chocolate and cardiovascular disease, involving almost 158,000 people.
Of nine relevant studies included in the systematic review, five studies each assessed coronary heart disease and stroke outcome and they found a significantly lower risk of both conditions associated with regular chocolate consumption.
It was linked to a 25 percent lower risk of any episode of cardiovascular disease and a 45 percent lower risk of associated death.
This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn, the researchers said.