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Over the years, researchers have linked chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, to many health-positives. A new study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health is drawing a new, stronger connections with AFib.

AFib (Atrial Fibrillation) is a heart condition presenting as an irregular heartbeat. Many with the condition describe it as feeling like a flutter in your chest. Ultimately, AFib is linked with a significantly higher risk for stroke and heart failure.

Mostofsky and her colleagues analyzed a large Danish database of 55,502 men and women, combing through information on their dietary habits and health conditions recorded at the start of the Danish diet and cancer study. The scientists analyzed later health diagnoses, too, gleaned from a national patient database.

The authors found 3,346 cases of atrial fibrillation were diagnosed during the 13.5 years following the study’s start.

What the researchers found was exciting. People who regularly ate small servings of chocolate saw a decreased risk of AFib.

  • 10 percent lower for people who ate 1 to 3 servings per month
  • 17 percent lower for people who ate 1 serving per week
  • 20 percent lower for people who ate 2 to 6 servings per week
  • 16 percent lower for people who ate one or more serving per day

A serving size was equal to one ounce – about 3 or 4 squares of chocolate. The data was similar for men and women, the authors noted.

As great as this research is, it IS NOT a license to eat chocolate several times a day. As with all things, moderation and quality (the darker, the better) seem to be the best. Dark chocolate contains more flavanols, the antioxidant researchers believe promotes healthy blood vessel function.

For more on this study, read the CBS article.

For a good round-up of high quality dark chocolates, read this article!