Can Chocolate Help Prevent Heart Attacks?

Could eating chocolate actually help you to prevent a heart attack? The new research comes from the VA Boston HealthCare system’s analysis of 148,465 US veterans who were part of the Million Veteran Program. This program monitors their health over time. 90% of the participants were men, and the average age was 64. What they found was certainly surprising. Overweight people who eat chocolate at least five times a week are less likely to have a CAD (coronary artery disease) episode such as a heart attack. Those who never eat chocolate, in contrast, are more at risk for having a CAD-related episode.

The strangest part of the study is that they found that the positive effects don’t occur for people within a healthy BMI range or who are underweight. The US researchers hypothesized that this might be because the impact of eating this amount of chocolate is small so it only impacted those who have a higher risk of a CAD event.

The participants were followed for 2.5 years and were asked how many times a week they eat 28 grams of either milk or dark chocolate without extra flavorings added. The results showed that overweight people who had five or more servings of chocolate a week had the least amount of CAD related events.

Can Pesticides Hurt Pregnancy Chances?

Here is a disturbing study for those who are trying to get pregnant. A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine has found that consuming fruits and vegetables high in pesticide residue is associated with a lower chance of pregnancy and a higher risk of pregnancy loss. Dr. Yu-Han Chiu, a research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and first author of the study explains.

As she said,

“There have been concerns for some time that exposure to low doses of pesticides through diet, such as those that we observed in this study, may have adverse health effects, especially in susceptible populations such as pregnant women and their fetus, and on children. Our study provides evidence that this concern is not unwarranted.”
The study included 325 women between 18 and 45 who were under the care of a doctor for infertility treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital. They found that women who ate 2.3 servings or more of high-pesticide-residue fruits and vegetables had 18% lower chance of getting pregnant and 26% lower chance of giving birth to a live baby.

As Dr. Chiu explained, “A reasonable choice based on these findings is to consume low-pesticide-residue fruits and vegetables instead of high-pesticide-residue ones. Another option is to go organic for the fruits and vegetables known to contain high pesticide residues. It is very important to keep in mind that, as far as we are aware, this is the first time that this association is reported, so it is extremely important that our findings are replicated in other studies.”

Certainly, there were limitations to the study and more investigative work is necessary.