A new study suggests that eating a bit of dark chocolate each day may cut the odds of heart attack and stroke in high-risk people.

Dark chocolate has antioxidant substances known to have heart protective effects. To this point the potential benefits of dark chocolate on heart health have only been examined in short-term studies.

According to a new study, Australian researchers used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects of daily consumption of dark chocolate among more than 2,000 people with "metabolic syndrome" and high blood pressure -- two conditions that increase a person's risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Daily consumption was set at about 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate.

Researchers determined that 100 percent compliance with eating dark chocolate every day could potentially prevent 70 non-fatal and 15 fatal cardiovascular events per 10,000 people over 10 years, while 80 percent compliance could prevent 55 non-fatal and 10 fatal cardiovascular events.

Researchers also stressed that protection against cardiovascular disease has only been shown for dark chocolate, not for milk or white chocolate.

Experts in the United States had mixed views on the findings.

Dr. Kenneth Ong, interim chair of the department of medicine and interim chief of cardiology at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City cautioned that "consuming dark chocolate every day for 10 years may have unintended adverse consequences.

The authors readily acknowledge that the additional sugar and caloric intake may negatively impact patients in this study, who are overweight and glucose intolerant to begin with."

(From Yahoo)