August 1, 2015
2 minute read

A Heartfelt Endorsement of Chocolate

A 2015 Norfolk study published in Heart magazine linked higher consumption of chocolate (up to 3.5 ounces per day, dark or milk chocolate) to a lower risk of future cardiovascular events, such as heart disease and stroke. Twelve percent of participants who fell into this higher level of chocolate consumption experienced or died of cardiovascular disease during the 11-year study, compared to 17.4% of participants who didn’t include chocolate in their diets.

Scientists are working to determine why chocolate may be linked to better heart health. Flavonoids, a polyphenol also found in tea, red wine, blueberries, nuts, and some other fruits, could be responsible. They’re present in the cacao beans that are used to produce the cocoa powder in chocolate. Researchers have associated flavonoids with beneficial health effects, such as lower blood pressure, heightened blood flow to the brain and heart, and fewer blood clots. They also improve cognition and fight damage to cells in the body.

However, as Chief Medical Editor of Harvard Health Publications Howard LeWine, MD, commented, “We don’t yet know enough to put eating chocolate on par with eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.” That’s because most of the studies concerning chocolate consumption and heart disease are purely observational. While these types of studies can discover and report connections, they cannot determine cause and effect.

There could be other factors at play than chocolate consumption. For example, LeWine noted that participants in the Norfolk study who didn’t eat chocolate showed, on average, higher weight, higher likelihood of diabetes, more inflammation that damages arteries, and less frequency of physical activity than those who ate chocolate. Any of these factors might be responsible for the frequency of heart disease in the population. To determine a causal link, a randomized, clinical trial would be needed.

In 2015, the Women’s Health Initiative began just such a trial to study cocoa flavonol and multivitamin supplement consumption, heart health, and cancer risk in women across a five-year period. “We’ll be testing them in a capsule form,” JoAnn Manson, chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, noted in conversation with NPR. That will test the effects of cocoa flavonols without the sugar, fat, and calories chocolate contains.

In the meantime, authors of the Norfolk study assured, “There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk.”

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© 2022 HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. All rights reserved.

To send a complaint to Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1- 877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week). If your complaint involves a broker or agent, be sure to include the name of the person when filing your grievance.

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1- 844-704-7357), 24 hours a day/7 days a week, to get information on all of your options.

Attention: This website is operated by HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace® website. HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. is licensed as an insurance agency in all 50 states and DC. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availability varies by state. Sales agents may be compensated based on a consumer’s enrollment in an insurance plan. No obligation to enroll. Agent cannot provide tax or legal advice. Contact your tax or legal professional to discuss details regarding your individual business circumstances. Our quoting tool is provided for your information only. All quotes are estimates and are not final until consumer is enrolled. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency offers the opportunity to enroll in either QHPs or off-Marketplace coverage. Please visit HealthCare.gov for information on the benefits of enrolling in a QHP. Off-Marketplace coverage is not eligible for the cost savings offered for coverage through the Marketplaces.

This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call the Plan’s customer service phone number for more information.

© 2022 HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. All rights reserved.

To send a complaint to Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1- 877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week). If your complaint involves a broker or agent, be sure to include the name of the person when filing your grievance.

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1- 844-704-7357), 24 hours a day/7 days a week, to get information on all of your options.

Attention: This website is operated by HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace® website. HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. is licensed as an insurance agency in all 50 states and DC. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availability varies by state. Sales agents may be compensated based on a consumer’s enrollment in an insurance plan. No obligation to enroll. Agent cannot provide tax or legal advice. Contact your tax or legal professional to discuss details regarding your individual business circumstances. Our quoting tool is provided for your information only. All quotes are estimates and are not final until consumer is enrolled. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency offers the opportunity to enroll in either QHPs or off-Marketplace coverage. Please visit HealthCare.gov for information on the benefits of enrolling in a QHP. Off-Marketplace coverage is not eligible for the cost savings offered for coverage through the Marketplaces.

This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call the Plan’s customer service phone number for more information.