chocolate prevents atrial fibrillation

Chocolate’s not just delicious: dark chocolate just might be the most perfect superfood out there. Tons of research proves that dark chocolate is a super health food for heart disease. And now a new study adds a new cardiovascular benefit to eating dark chocolate.

This new study set out to see if eating chocolate could prevent atrial fibrillation, or heart flutter. Atrial fibrillation affects about a quarter of all adults at some point in their life. There is no known way of preventing or curing it. Except, it now seems, eating chocolate! . . .

The study followed 55,502 people from Denmark between the ages of 50 and 64 for 13.5 years. Compared to people who ate chocolate less than once a month, people who ate chocolate 1-3 times a month had a 10% lower risk of atrial fibrillation. People who ate chocolate once a week had a 17% lower risk. 2-6 times a week increased the benefit to 20%, and more than one serving a day reduced the risk by 16%.

The optimal amount of chocolate for women to prevent atrial fibrillation seemed to be one serving a week; for men, the optimal amount seemed to be 2-6 servings a week. 30g was counted as one serving.

Unfortunately, the researchers did not differentiate between dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Though dark chocolate delivers substantially more heart healthy flavonoids, most people in Denmark eat milk chocolate. It would have been interesting to see how much greater the preventative power of chocolate would have been had the researchers included only dark chocolate.

Heart 2017;doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2016-310357

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