Just in case you needed another reason to have the occasional piece of chocolate, here's the latest reason why a little chocolate is actually part of a healthy diet. According to new research out of Sweden, regularly eating chocolate each week can help to prevent the risk of stroke in women.
That's right! Eating the equivalent of about two chocolate bars a week has been found to reduce stroke risk. Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, those women who got about 2.3 ounces a week received the most benefit — a whopping 20 percent reduction in stroke risk.
Researchers believe that the flavonoids in chocolate have antioxidant properties that protect the body from free radicals that can harm the cardiovascular system. While the chocolate eaten in the Sweden study was mostly milk chocolate, researchers say that for Americans to get the most health benefit from chocolate, they should choose dark chocolate, which has a higher concentration of cocoa, and less sugar, fat and calories. Typically, American milk chocolate has much less cocoa than Sweden milk chocolate.
What's your favorite way to eat dark chocolate?
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.