A new study shows that women who consume chocolate regularly had a reduced risk of stroke. The data was derived from a group of over 33,000 women in Sweden being followed for a mammography study. Those reporting higher intake; equivalent to two chocolate bars a week, had a significantly reduced risk of stroke.

Women without high blood pressure seemed to benefit the most, a surprising finding. The other surprising finding was that the reduction in hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain) was greater than the more common type of stroke associated with impaired blood flow.

Chocolate is thought to protect against cardiovascular diseases due to flavinoids in cocoa that have antioxidant effects. Dark chocolate consumption has also been shown to reduce blood pressure.

At the time the study was started, most chocolate consumed in Sweden was milk chocolate.