Chocolate Tied To Decreased Risk Of Irregular Heart Rhythm

  • Chocolate Tied To Decreased Risk Of Irregular Heart Rhythm

Chocolate Tied To Decreased Risk Of Irregular Heart Rhythm

"Our study adds to the accumulating evidence on the health benefits of moderate chocolate intake", lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky, an instructor in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a university news release. It can lead to poor blood flow which can cause brain failure and strokes and can even lead to death if not treated.

What comes next is interesting, those candidates that consumed anything from two to six servings of chocolate a week, once a week or up to three servings a month, were in turn at a lower risk of developing Atrial Fibrillation.

The researchers analysed figures for men and women both separately and together.

Not only was eating chocolate linked to a lower rate of AF, but the rate also continually decreased as study participants ate chocolate more often.

Given that regular chocolate consumption, particularly of dark chocolate, has been linked to improvements in various indicators of heart health, the researchers wanted to see if it might also be associated with a lower rate of atrial fibrillation. But for women, eating just one portion a week lowered their risk by 21 percent. Researchers considered study participants' body mass index, blood pressure, and cholesterol, which were measured at the time participants were recruited, between December 1993 and May 1997. They say more research is needed and note a number of limitations in the Danish study group: the participants were nearly exclusively white; socioeconomic levels, which may affect health status, were not tracked; and the chocolate consumers had lower levels of other risk factors including hypertension and diabetes.

The participants were asked to consume a certain fixed amount of serving of chocolate per week each serving being equal to 30 grams.

The study included 55,502 men and women participating in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Heath Study.

Based on their data, about 3,346 cases of AFib occurred in study participants over an average of 13.5 years.

The study has several othe limitations - for starters, it's observational, meaning it only observes a link between chocolate consumption and heart health rather that proving the former directly causes the latter.

Secondly, the researchers were not able to consider other risk factors for atrial fibrillation, such as kidney disease and sleep apnoea (breathing problems at night). 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.

Previous research has found high consumption of chocolate can lead to more heart health benefits, but moderation is key.

"As these other health issues are known to predispose people to atrial fibrillation, it is hard to say whether eating chocolate was protective or if this population is generally less predisposed to irregular rhythms", Bond said. There's nothing wrong with eating a small amount of chocolate as part of a healthy, balanced diet - but hoping that a single "superfood" such as chocolate will make a big difference to your health is misguided.