Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt eats chocolate in Ostrava May 23, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/DAVID W. CERNY
Researchers studied the diet and health of more than 37,000 men aged 49 to 75. Men who ate about one-third a cup of milk chocolate per week had a 17% lower risk of stroke compared to those who didn't eat any chocolate, the study said.
Susanna Larsson, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said the health benefits may be related to flavonoids (antioxidants) found 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."
Researchers analyzed five studies and found for every quarter-cup of chocolate eaten per week, the men's risk of stroke dropped 14%.
The study was published in Wednesday's online issue of the journal Neurology.
Another study released in April found flavonoid-rich food and drinks -- such as red wine, berries, and apples -- lowered the risk of Parkinson's disease in men.