New Study Shows Chocolate is Fantastic for Your Heart Health

This is the news we’ve all been waiting for. It’s true, chocolate is good for your health. While you take a moment to thank your lucky stars, let’s explain why this has officially become the case. Scientists have already established that eating a few squares of dark chocolate is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Now, there’s a new study from Denmark that suggests that regular consumption may also help to prevent the development of atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat. This condition increases a person’s risk of strokes, heart failure, and cognitive impairment.

The journal Heart published this new Danish study. In the write-up, researchers showed that those who ate chocolate at least once a month had a 10 to 20 percent reduced rate of atrial fibrillation than those who consumed chocolate less often.

Why Is This Important?

The research was conducted using chocolate with a high cocoa content. Although results were observed in those who ate chocolate at least once a month, the strongest effect was seen in those who ate one ounce of chocolate two to six times per week.

Gender, too, played a role in the effectiveness of chocolate on heart arrhythmias. For women, the findings showed that the strongest association was seen in those who ate a one-ounce serving of chocolate once a week. For those who were eating that much chocolate, researchers found a link to a 21 percent lower risk of atrial fibrillation. To see a similar reduction, men had to consume two to six one-ounce servings of chocolate weekly.

No One Knows Why Chocolate Reduces Atrial Fibrillation

Though the findings may seem promising, like any good scientist knows, correlation does not equal causation. Therefore, other research teams will have to replicate the results for them to be considered concrete.

Furthermore, the study is unable to pinpoint the mechanism of how chocolate may help prevent atrial fibrillation. The current theory points to a naturally occurring compound called flavonoids.

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Flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which limit inflammation by reducing the stickiness of the blood to prevent scarring of connective tissue. All of these factors may help prevent the electrical remodeling of the heart that leads to atrial fibrillation.

For Americans, these findings can be life changing. Currently, between 2.7 million and 6.1 million Americans have atrial fibrillation. Therefore finding an effective method of reduction will help alter the life of millions for the better.

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