By Melissa Healy Los Angeles Times
Men need chocolate too.
A new study finds that compared with men who reported eating little-to-no chocolate on a regular basis, those who had the highest weekly consumption of chocolate — about 63 grams per week, or just a little more than 2 ounces — reduced their likelihood of suffering a stroke by 17 percent.
The study fills out a picture of chocolate consumption, especially of dark chocolate, that has firmly demonstrated cardiovascular benefits for women.
The precise mechanism by which chocolate works is not known. Dark chocolate, especially, is a rich source of flavenoids, the kind of plant-based polyphenols one finds in fruits, vegetables, legumes and wine.
These appear to tamp down inflammation throughout the body.
But they also reduce the aggregation of platelets, the building blocks of blood clots that, in most strokes and heart attacks, reduce or cut off blood flow to the brain or heart.
Regular chocolate consumption has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve the health and efficiency of blood vessels.
And it appears to improve the cholesterol profiles of those who eat it regularly.