Does eating chocolate prevent this heart problem?
A recent Danish study is taking the phrase “everything’s better with chocolate” to a whole new level. The study found that consumption of chocolate is linked to reduced risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common and dangerous form of an irregular heartbeat.
AFib is the most typical form of arrhythmia, which is a complication with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. A person with AFib will have a heartbeat that is either too fast or too slow. This is caused by disorganized electrical signals that incite the heart’s two upper chambers, or the atria, to fibrillate.
The study of more than 55,000 people in Denmark established those who favored chocolate and ate it regularly tended to have a lower risk of atrial fibrillation. The study tracked the participants’ health for 13 years, over which time, more than 3,300 cases of AFib surfaced.
Because there are no proven therapies for the prevention of AFib, the correlation found in this study could be a valuable piece of advice for anyone worried about potential heart irregularities. Dr. Manoj Duggal, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. states, “Although cardiovascular health depends on more than just consumption of chocolate, this study offers a sweet tip that eating chocolate with a high content of cocoa can benefit the heart and may be a health-conscious choice.”
Dr. Duggal warns that “eating too much chocolate is not recommended because many chocolate candies and other snacks contain high calories and levels of fat that have been linked to health problems such as obesity and other metabolic complications.”
As with many studies, there were limitations to the research, causing the findings to constitute more of a correlation than a cause. However, it is important to know that a moderate intake of chocolate could help, not hurt, your heart health.
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