The Benefits of Chocolate for Older Women

December 20, 2010

Now how could I resist telling you about this, particularly as we approach Christmas when you are bound to be given the odd box or two? My mother used to give me a tin of Roses, a ‘chest’ of Terry’s Old Gold and a box of Black Magic which started me on the road to a sweet tooth, but from which she also got to eat more chocolate than my father approved as she was only helping me out by eating at least half!

So in that spirit back to the benefits of chocolate for older women, which was studied in a controlled trial over 10-years by researchers at the University of Western Australia. Their findings were that women over 70 are less likely to die or be hospitalized due to heart disease if they are regular chocolate eaters. This is the first study in older women that demonstrates a link between chocolate intake and reduced atherosclerotic plaque, which causes ASVD (Arteriosclerotic Vascular Disease).

Of the subjects involved in the research, more than 47% had less than a serving of chocolate per week; about 36% consumed one to six servings per week; and the remaining 17% had more than seven servings. A single serving in this case was equivalent to the amount of cocoa found in one cup of hot raw cocoa – or perhaps a tenth of the top tray of Black Magic (dark chocolate being healthier than milk).

The group that consumed the most chocolate had the least incidence of heart-related death or hospitalization (42 incidents); the group that had six servings or fewer had 90 incidents of cardiovascular-related problems; and the group that rarely consumed chocolate had the highest rate of heart-related problems (158 incidents).

Everyone in the trial regardless of how often they ate chocolate had similar overall results, which suggests that one serving per week could have significant benefits – if you can manage to keep it to that level!

This is not the only study to extol the benefits of chocolate: raw cocoa, the principal ingredient in chocolate, is rich in flavonoids. Previous studies have found that flavonoids have been associated with a 50% lower risk of heart-related deaths and in 2008 Italian researchers found that regular consumption of dark chocolate may reduce inflammation linked to heart and blood vessel disease.

If chocolate isn’t to your taste, then you can get the same benefit from foods rich in flavonoids, such as apples, apricots, blueberries, pears, raspberries, strawberries, cabbage, onions, parsley, and of course red wine as all have been shown to be helpful in postmenopausal women to prevent coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.


Article by  


What do you think of this health article by ? Join the discussion...