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Old 09-22-2008, 10:44 PM
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Default Regular Cocoa Consumption May Lower CRP Levels

September 22, 2008

Frequent dark chocolate consumption linked with reduced inflammation

In the October, 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, Italian researchers report that men and women who regularly consume dark chocolate have a significantly lower level of inflammation ,as indicated by reduced concentrations of serum C-reactive protein (CRP).

For the study, Licia Iacoviello and colleagues selected 2,141 participants in the Moli-Sani Project, an ongoing study of men and women aged 35 and older. Chocolate was reported as not having been consumed during the past year by 1317 subjects, while 824 reported being regular dark chocolate consumers . Serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and other factors were measured upon enrollment, and body mass index, blood pressure, and physical activity levels were determined.

Dark chocolate consumers tended to be younger, with lower systolic blood pressure and body mass index compared to nonconsumers, however, adjustment for these factors failed to modify the observed association between reduced C-reactive protein levels and increased dark chocolate consumption. Participants who reported consuming up to one serving of dark chocolate every 3 days had significantly lower CRP levels than those who consumed no chocolate or those who consumed higher amounts. The failure of higher intake levels to further reduce CRP was speculated to be due to the increased intake of calories and saturated fats that accompany chocolate, which would offset the beneficial effects of its polyphenol content.

The reduction in CRP values observed in the current study among dark chocolate consumers is associated with a 26 percent lower risk of a cardiovascular event in men and a 33 percent lower risk in women compared to the risk experienced by nonconsumers. "The present study, by showing a significant inverse association between dark chocolate and serum CRP, adds new insight into the relationship between flavonoid-rich foods, inflammation, and cardiovascular protection." the authors conclude.
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