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Chocolate Helps Reduce Heart Risk: Study

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By    |   Wednesday, 24 May 2017 01:14 PM

Could it be that your favorite guilty pleasure, chocolate, is actually good for you? The answer may be yes, according to a new study in the journal, Heart, that finds that people who regularly eat chocolate reduce their risk of heart rhythm disorders.

Atrial fibrillation, a condition in which an irregular, often rapid heart rate, causes poor blood flow, affects more than 33 million people across the globe. The causes of heart flutter, as well as potential cures or prevention methods, are unfortunately unclear.

With the knowledge that dark chocolate consumption had been linked to improvements in heart health, the researchers sought to figure out whether or not chocolate could also be linked to a lower rate in atrial fibrillation. The Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study tracked more than 55,000 people between the ages of 50 and 64, including their weekly chocolate consumption.

During the study period, which averaged 13.5 years, more than 3,300 new cases of atrial fibrillation were diagnosed among the participants. Using this information, the researchers were able to analyze the data in relation to chocolate consumption, finding that the rate of diagnosis was 10 percent lower for those who ate at least one to three one-ounce servings of chocolate a month than it was for those who ate less.

The study also found:

  • A 17 percent lower risk of atrial fibrillation for those who had one weekly serving of chocolate.
  • A 20 percent lower risk for those who ate two to six weekly servings.
  • A 14 percent lower risk for those ate one or more daily servings.
  • Men who consumed two to six servings of chocolate a week had the greatest risk reduction — a 23 lower risk.
  • Women who had one weekly serving of chocolate had a 21 percent lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

The researchers cautioned that the results are not definitive. The chocolate eaters in the study were naturally healthier and were highly educated, which are factors associated with good health. The study also failed to take account of other risk factors for atrial fibrillation, like kidney disease or sleep apnea.

Still, the researchers concluded: “Most of the chocolate consumed in our sample probably contained relatively low concentrations of the potentially protective ingredients [yet found a] robust statistically significant association” between chocolate consumption and heart health.

“Regardless of the limitations of the Danish chocolate study, the findings are interesting and warrant further consideration” Drs. Sea Pokroney and Jonathan Piccini, of Duke University Medical Center, noted. “Especially given the importance of identifying effective prevention strategies for [atrial fibrillation].”

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People who regularly eat chocolate reduce their risk of heart rhythm disorders, a new study suggests.
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Wednesday, 24 May 2017 01:14 PM
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