Guest Author - A. Maria Hester, M.D.
Yet another reason to eat chocolate? A recent medical research study gives women yet another reason to consume chocolate. A study published online in the December 1, 2011 issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, concluded that among women with known cardiovascular disease, certain antioxidants were very protective against stroke.
Those who ingested the highest amount of antioxidants had a significant decrease in their risk of strokes, when compared to women who ate the least amount. Specifically, a 17% lower risk was noted in those women without known cardiovascular disease who consumed the highest amount of antioxidants. Even more striking, for women with known cardiovascular disease, the risk of having the type of stroke in which there is bleeding in the brain - hemorrhagic stroke - was reduced by 45% among those with those with a diet highest in antioxidants.
And, what specific foods were researched in this study? Fruits, vegetables, tea, and grains should come as no surprise for most. But on this Valentine's Day, before you let yourself feel too guilty about that box of chocolate sitting on your shelf, console yourself with the knowledge that even chocolate was associated with a reduction in stroke risk, yes chocolate. How sweet it is!
Keep in mind, however, that while this study does show that chocolate can reduce one's risk of stroke, we should not get carried away. As with any good thing, moderation is the key. Eating so much chocolate that you gain weight, and ultimately have a new set of health problems to deal with, such as diabetes and high blood pressure is not a wise thing to do.
Cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, claim the lives of countless women (and men) each year, so it is vital to lead as healthy a lifestyle as possible and exercise regularly. An overall low fat, low cholesterol diet is very important, though that does not mean that you have to live a life with no zest at all. The important thing is that you make wise choices. Occasional chocolate is not a deal breaker for the vast majority of women, though if you have diabetes a chocolate bar does have the potential to get you into some degree of trouble, if only temporarily.
Those things being said, it is okay to treat yourself from time to time. Many women crave chocolate, though I never figured our why men do not seem to carry our same passion for this delicacy.