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Chocolate and pre-eclampsia

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2008 - Autumn


Eating chocolate may lower the risk of pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition in pregnancy characterized by increased blood pressure and proteinuria, according to a Yale study published in the journal Epidemiology in May. But the study is not a free pass for chocoholics. Eating too many sweets can cause health problems, said Elizabeth W. Triche, Ph.D., of the Yale Center for Perinatal, Pediatric and Environmental Epidemiology, who led the study.

Triche’s team wanted to find out whether chocolate—especially dark chocolate with antioxidants that confer cardiovascular benefits—would protect pregnant women against pre-eclampsia. The study found that women who had more than five servings a week had a lower risk of pre-eclampsia; those who had high levels of theobromine, a byproduct of chocolate consumption, were nearly 70 percent less likely to develop pre-eclampsia than women who had low levels.

“This looks promising, but we need to do more research into how much and what type of chocolate is the most beneficial,” Triche said.

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