chocolate prevents arterial fibrillation

Tons of research has shown that dark chocolate is good for your heart. But now there’s a new reason to eat chocolate for heart health.

Arterial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia, and it is associated with a number of serious conditions, including stroke, heart failure, dementia and even death.

Though research has shown chocolate to be good for so many cardiovascular diseases and risk factors, it has been unable to show a clear benefit for arterial fibrillation. But a new study is changing that.

This Danish study followed 55,502 people for an average of 13.5 years. None of the people in the study had a previous history of arterial fibrillation, but over the 13.5 years, 3346 of them did experience arteria fibrillation. But the ones who ate more chocolate were 16-20% less likely to suffer from arterial fibrillation. The protection offered by chocolate was significant. For women, the best amount of chocolate seemed to be one 1 ounce (30g) serving a week, which reduced the risk by 21%; for men, the best amount of chocolate seemed to be 2-6 servings a week, which reduced the risk by 23%.

When men and women were combined, the reduction in risk was 20% for 1-3 servings a month, 17% for 1 serving a week, 20% for 2-6 servings a week and 16% for 1 or more servings a day.

Earlier American research was able to find a benefit for chocolate for arterial fibrillation, but not a significant benefit. The reason may be because of the failure of the researchers to distinguish dark chocolate from milk chocolate. Dark chocolate not only packs a greater load of hearth healthy flavonoid, but the milk in milk chocolate can deactivate the flavonoids that are remaining in milk chocolate. This study may have had better results because, while milk chocolate in North America was very little actual cocoa, milk chocolate in Denmark must have at least 30%. So, Danish chocolate eaters were getting more cocoa than chocolate eaters in the American studies. Had the researchers looked only at dark chocolate—since it is only dark chocolate that is really a healthy food—the results would likely have been even more impressive.

So, you may now be able to add arterial fibrillation to the list of ways dark chocolate can keep your cardiovascular system healthy.


Heart 2017;103(15):1163-1167


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