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High Chocolate Consumption Tied to Lower Risk of Stroke

Significantly reduced risk of stroke for women in the highest quartile of chocolate consumption

MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of high levels of chocolate is associated with a reduced risk of stroke, according to a letter published in the Oct. 18 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Susanna C. Larsson, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues investigated the association between chocolate consumption and the risk of stroke in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Chocolate consumption was assessed for 33,372 women (age 49 to 83 years) using a validated self-administered food-frequency questionnaire, and women were stratified into eight pre-defined consumption categories ranging from never to three or more times a day. Using the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry, incident cases of first stroke occurring from 1998 through 2008 were identified. The relative risk (RR) of stroke was estimated by quartiles of chocolate consumption during a mean follow-up of 10.4 years.

The investigators identified 1,549 events of stroke: 1,200 cerebral infarctions, 224 hemorrhagic strokes, and 125 unspecified strokes. There was an inverse correlation between chocolate consumption and total stroke, cerebral infarction, and hemorrhagic stroke. The multivariable RRs for a 50 g/week increase in chocolate consumed were 0.86, 0.88, and 0.73 for total stroke, cerebral infarction, and hemorrhagic stroke, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in the risk estimates for hemorrhagic stroke and cerebral infarction. After excluding the first year of follow-up, the association for total stroke persisted. A significantly reduced risk of stroke was only seen for women in the highest quartile of chocolate consumption (median 66.5 g/week).

"Results from this cohort of women suggest that a high chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of stroke," the authors write.

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