Chocolate nibble 'can help heart'

An occasional chocolate treat can help prevent heart failure in older women, research suggests.

One or two servings of good-quality chocolate a week reduced the risk of middle-aged and elderly women developing the condition by almost a third, a study found.

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Scientists looked at the association between chocolate and heart failure in almost 32,000 Swedish women aged 48 to 83.

Moderate chocolate consumption significantly reduced heart failure risk, but the protective effect lessened as more or less was eaten.

One or two 19 to 30 gram servings a week led to a 32 per cent risk reduction. This fell to 26 cent when one to three servings a month were eaten, while one serving a day or more showed no benefit.