Women, there really is a God: A study released today found that some amount of chocolate consumption can be good for you.
Harvard researchers tracking 31,823 elderly Swedish women over 9 years found those who reported eating an average of one to two servings of high-quality choklad per week had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure.
Of course, the findings come with caveats. The benefits conferred by chocolate fell as consumption rose and zeroed out at one serving daily, probably due to increased calorie intake; they were also contingent on quality (cocoa content), which is notoriously low in the United States. The researchers warn in a release:
"Those tempted to use these data as their rationale for eating large amounts of chocolate or engaging in more frequent chocolate consumption are not interpreting this study appropriately... This is not an 'eat all you want' take-home message, rather it’s that eating a little dark chocolate can be healthful, as long as other adverse behaviors do not occur, such as weight gain or excessive intake of non-nutrient dense 'empty' calories."
The heart-healthy character of chocolate is thanks to flavanoids, which have been shown in short-term studies to lower blood pressure.