David Stone
Heart healthy & delicious, dark chocolate fills a rack at Bread & Butter Market
Heart healthy & delicious, dark chocolate fills a rack at Bread & Butter Market
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Wishful chocolate lovers got more good news this month when a study, published in the British Medical Journal Heart, verified heart helpful benefits from dark chocolate but went further by explaining why.

A report published in the New York Times summarized the findings:

"After controlling for total calorie intake, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index and other factors, they found that compared with people who ate no chocolate, those who had one to three one-ounce servings a month had a 10 percent reduced relative risk for atrial fibrillation, those who ate one serving a week had a 17 percent reduced risk, and those who ate two to six a week had a 20 percent reduced risk."

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to heart failure and strokes.

I note happily that I am in the two to six a week category.

The new study, which relies powerfully on monitoring 55,502 men and women for about 14 years, follows up on many others in recent years that prove that eating chocolate is much more than a savory dip into personal pleasure.

It's important to note that we're not talking about what's commonly known as "milk chocolate," which isn't really chocolate at all but a processed sugary desert. Labeling should specify at least 60% real chocolate. That means, not Hershey bars, Snickers, Three Musketeers, etc.

Those may be perfectly enjoyable, but they don't have the health benefits.

Among other known and suspected benefits: 

My unscientific opinion is that it also tastes great.

And in case you're worried about weight gain, some studies suggest that, because dark chocolate is filled with fiber along with the great taste, it fills you up faster and, unlike other sweets, does not give you that empty feeling that never goes away no matter how much you eat.

So, get into that dark chocolate habit.

Fortunately, here on Roosevelt Island, it takes only two steps, one into Bread & Butter Market where rows of the good stuff await just inside the door, and one more to the counter - the only downside is that this heart healthy wonder is not free yet.