As people enter the age for elderly care, many are concerned that they could be at risk for a stroke. However, new research could help ease the risk for men, and they may actually find the preventative measure to be a treat.
According to research out of the American Academy of Neurology's medical journal, Neurology, eating a moderate amount of chocolate each week could help reduce a man's stroke risk. The study's authors looked at more than 37,100 Swedish men aged 49 to 75 who were given a food questionnaire.
The survey helped determine how often the male patients consumed different kinds of food and drinks and what they were consuming. The researchers also looked at how frequently each of the male test subjects ate chocolate.
The study's authors then looked that the number of stroke cases that took place through a hospital discharge registry. Of the results, 1,995 first stroke cases were reported over a 10-year span.
From the findings, the researchers were able to determine that men who ate the most chocolate out of the group, which was about one-third of a cup of chocolate a week, had the lowest risk of having an episode with a 17 percent decrease when compared to men who did not eat chocolate at all.
"The beneficial effect of chocolate consumption on stroke may be related to the flavonoids in chocolate. Flavonoids appear to be protective against cardiovascular disease through antioxidant, anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties. It's also possible that flavonoids in chocolate may decrease blood concentrations of bad cholesterol and reduce blood pressure," said study author Dr. Susanna C. Larsson, with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. "Interestingly, dark chocolate has previously been associated with heart health benefits, but about 90 percent of the chocolate intake in Sweden, including what was consumed during our study, is milk chocolate."
While there have been previous studies conducted on the benefits of chocolate to one's body, Larsson points out that this research is one of the first to zero in on the treat's effect on stroke.
It may be a good idea for those providing home health care to male patients to give them chocolate, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that strokes account for more than 800,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
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