Chocolate provides greater health benefits for men than it does for women, scientists claimed today.
A study found men who munched on dark chocolate received more protection against heart disease and strokes than women.
Experts at Aberdeen University discovered men’s blood quality appeared to improve far more than women when they are chocolate with at least 70 per cent cocoa solids.
Platelets – components in blood which can clump together to form clots if stressed – were found to be increasingly calmer in men.
This means they would be less likely to stick together and form a potentially deadly blood clot.
Dr Bauke de Roos, from the university’s Rowlett Institute of Nutrition and Health, examined dozens of male and female volunteers in the study.
She said: “It’s strange because it’s normally us women who love chocolate far more but we’ve found it effects us far less positively than it does for men.
“So if your man is tempted to eat chocolate over the Christmas period, which everybody is I think, then try to get him to stick to the dark chocolate.”
The scientist is not sure why the benefits of dark chocolate are far less in women.
She added: “This is one of the first studies where men and women have been looked at differently in terms to eating dark chocolate.
“Although we found that the dark chocolate is both beneficial for men and women, there are different mechanisms at work and the effect seems to be much larger for men.
“Men’s platelets are significantly better behaved than women’s after eating dark chocolate, as they don’t seem to clump together as much and are far less stressed.
“It’s a bit of a mystery why this is. Perhaps it’s to do with hormones, but it’s just something we’ll be trying to explain in future studies.”
Cardiovascular disease affecting the heart and circulatory system is one of the biggest killers in the first world and accounts for more deaths in Europe and America than any other condition.
But Dr de Roos had one warning about eating dark chocolate in a bid to prevent heart diseases and strokes.
She said: “Obviously the chocolate has to be eaten in moderation because it contains a lot of sugar and fat.
“But if men want to eat chocolate then they should stick to the dark chocolate because it’s a lot more beneficial than the milk or white versions.
“They lower blood pressure especially if you already have blood pressure because of smoking, or because you are obese.
“They can also help the flexibility of your veins as well.
“Keeping platelets nice and relaxed, meaning they float around freely – rather than sticking – is key in preventing the development of heart disease.”