A little chocolate each week may help prevent a heart flutter, study says
Also known as a heart flutter, atrial fibrillation affects more than 33 million people worldwide, and one in four adults are likely to develop the condition at some point in their life. However, it’s not clear what causes it or how to prevent it, and there is no known cure.
As regular chocolate consumption, especially of dark chocolate, has been shown to be beneficial for other heart conditions, the team behind the new research wanted to see if chocolate could also help reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation.
The team also gathered information on participants’ diet and lifestyle at the beginning of the study, including information on heart disease risk factors such as smoking. Participants were then monitored for an average of 13.5 years.
The results showed that the diagnosis rate of atrial fibrillation rate was 10 percent lower for those who are 1-3 servings of chocolate a month than it was for those who ate less than 1 serving a month.
Those who ate one serving of chocolate a week benefited from a 17 percent lower risk of atrial fibrillation, and those who increased this to 2-6 weekly servings benefited from a 20 percent lower risk.
When they looked at any sex differences between the results, the findings showed that the association seemed to be strongest for women when they ate 1 weekly serving of chocolate (21 percent lower risk), and strongest for men when they consumed between 2 and 6 weekly servings (23 percent lower risk).
However the team still concluded, “Regardless of the limitations of the Danish chocolate study, the findings are interesting and warrant further consideration, especially given the importance of identifying effective prevention strategies for [atrial fibrillation],” which have so far proved elusive.
The findings can be found published online in the journal Heart. KI
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