Eating more chocolate can decrease risk of a fatal heart condition, study says

Good news chocoholics!

A study by Harvard University has found a link between eating more chocolate and reducing your risk of a fatal heart condition.

According to researchers, eating two to six portions of chocolate a week (a portion being 30g or a small bar) can lower your risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) by 20 per cent. The heart condition, characterized by an irregular and often rapid heart rate, has been linked to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

The study analyzed a large Danish database of 55,502 men and women and recorded their BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol before the study. Amongst the group studied, 3, 346 were identified with atrial fibrillation over a 13.5-year follow-up period.

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Researchers found that those who ate who ate one to three servings per month had a 10 per cent lower rate of AF than those who consumer a one-ounce serving of chocolate less than once per month. Those who ate one serving per week had a 17 per cent lower rate; and those who ate two to six servings per week had a 20 per cent lower rate.

Previous studies have also shown that cocoa and cocoa-containing foods provide cardiovascular benefits, particularly so in dark chocolate which has a higher cocoa content than milk chocolate. However there has been limited research on the link between eating chocolate and the occurrence of AF.

(Photo: Getty)
(Photo: Getty)

“Despite the fact that most of the chocolate consumed by the study participants likely had relatively low concentrations of potentially protective ingredients, we still observed a significant association between eating chocolate and a lower risk of AF—suggesting that even small amounts of cocoa consumption can have a positive health impact,” said lead researcher Elizabeth Mostofsky in a press release.

But before you jump on the Danish Diet and indulge in your favourite chocolatey treats, Mostofsky adds a word of caution.

“Eating excessive amounts of chocolate is not recommended because many chocolate products are high in calories from sugar and fat and could lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems. But moderate intake of chocolate with high cocoa content may be a healthy choice.”

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Will you be adding more cocoa to your diet? Let us know by tweeting us @YahooStyleCA.