For serious chocoholics, the balance between getting your fix and keeping your teeth healthy can be tricky. As a cosmetic dentist in Monroe, WA, Dr. Travis Magelsen understands that some things are just worth the risk, especially when they offer such sweetly healthy benefits.
Dark chocolate lovers everywhere rejoiced after a study was released that touted the long-term health benefits eating an ounce of their favorite form of cacao had on the body. According to researchers, individuals who eat a small amount of dark chocolate a week showed lowered blood pressure levels, increased blood flow, and a stronger immune system.
Now a new study has found that men who eat a small amount of chocolate every week have a lower risk of suffering a stroke when compared to men who don’t eat any chocolate at all.
While the majority of recent studies have focused on the benefits of dark chocolate, this latest study suggests that milk chocolate has just as many perks. The study was conducted in Sweden, where approximately 90 percent of all chocolate people eat is of the milk variety. What’s becoming apparent now to researchers is that the heart-healthy antioxidants found in all types of chocolate called flavonoids, may offer health benefits no matter what type of chocolate people eat. The findings of the study were recently published in the journal Neurology.
The Delicious Findings
The Swedish study involved over 37,000 men between the ages of 45 to 79 who filled out detailed questionnaires about the foods they ate, including chocolate. During the 10 years the study was conducted, 1,995 cases of stroke occurred among the study participants.
The men who reported eating the most chocolate, what roughly amounted to about a third of a cup of chocolate chips a week, were 17 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than the men who ate less chocolate.
Researchers also analyzed the combined findings of four other studies that had a total of 4,260 cases of stroke. Individuals who consumed the most chocolate were 19 percent less likely to suffer a stroke compared to those who ate the least amount of chocolate.
Dark Vs. Milk
Researchers at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York suggest that Americans may still want to favor eating dark chocolate over milk chocolate. While researchers aren’t’ entirely sure the difference, the majority of U.S. based studies still point to dark chocolate as possessing the most health benefits. Whether this means that milk chocolate is processed differently here in the U.S. in comparison to what is sold in Sweden is unclear. However, there are still numerous steps a person can take to help reduce their risk of stroke even if U.S. milk chocolate doesn’t produce the same affects.
These steps can include:
- Quitting smoking
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Making sure your blood pressure and cholesterol levels remain under control
- Eating a healthy, properly balanced diet
- Regularly exercising
Maintaining Your Oral Health
While the healthy benefits of milk chocolate certainly offer a reason to indulge, you need to make sure to keep up with your oral hygiene habits if adding more sugar to your diet. By continuing to brush at least twice a day and flossing daily, you can enjoy all the healthy benefits of milk chocolate, and not put your oral health at jeopardy by consuming more sugar.
If you have any questions about the best practices for protecting your oral health, feel free to ask your cosmetic dentist in Monroe, WA, Dr. Travis Magelsen, during your next appointment.