London : Scientists say there is no proof that chocolate and red wine protect the heart, even though a recent study suggested that they lower the cardiac risk by 37 per cent. According to heart specialists, the mechanisms by which they could make a difference have still to be explained, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.
This was only a ‘sign’, however, and not proof because the study was flawed, said Steffen Desch from the University of Leipzig Heart Centre in Germany. Desch said a more conclusive trial could be difficult because the real thing would have to be tested against a ‘dummy’ substance that looked and tasted like chocolate.
Some small studies have claimed that chocolate lowers blood pressure and reduces inflammation in the body. “Despite the studies I couldn’t yet recommend dark chocolate as a prevention or treatment in cardiovascular disease,” said Desch.
“There’s no strong evidence of a benefit and no clear explanation of an effective mechanism.” The calories contained in chocolate are likely to offset any protection to the heart, he added. His reservations came as Dutch researchers dampened down speculation about the benefits of red wine on the heart.
Even though it is also supposed to help heart health, there is no single ingredient which appears to work, they said.
They have tested resveratrol, which is found in the skin of red grapes and is believed to have a range of life-enhancing properties.
Eric Sijbrands, of Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, led a series of studies which failed to replicate the findings of heart benefits from taking resveratrol. Using it in capsules for four weeks did not lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension, he said.