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Eating up to 100 g. – a whole large Lindt bar! – of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk, according to an observational study reported recently in the journal Heart.

"Higher levels of consumption were associated with lower weight (BMI), systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins, diabetes and more physical activity – all of which add up to a favourable cardiovascular risk profile."

Compared with those who ate no chocolate, eating lots of chocolate was linked to:

· An 11 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25 per cent lower risk of associated death

· A 9 per cent lower risk of hospital admission or death as a result of coronary heart disease

· A 23 per cent lower risk of stroke, even after taking account of other potential risk factors

And milk chocolate, usually thought to be less healthy than dark chocolate, might also be beneficial: "Not only flavonoids but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation.

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