Chocolate and Coronary Heart Disease: A Systematic Review
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States. The high content of polyphenols and flavonoids present in cocoa has been reported to play an important protective role in the development of CHD. Although studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of chocolate on endothelial function, blood pressure, serum lipids, insulin resistance, and platelet function, it is unclear whether chocolate consumption influences the risk of CHD. This article reviews current evidence on the effects of cocoa/chocolate on clinical and subclinical CHD, CHD risk factors, and potential biologic mechanisms. It also discusses major limitations of currently available data and future directions in the field.