Hearts a-flutter with sweet treat news

Tuesday, 30th May, 2017

Chocoholics rejoice - chocolate may be good for fluttering hearts.

IF YOU'RE feeling guilty about reaching for the chocolate, take heart - it may be good for your ticker.

New research has linked chocolate consumption to a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation.

Led by Elizabeth Mostofsky from the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, the researchers studied results from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study, with the results published online in Heart.

More than 55,000 participants aged between 50 and 64 provided information on their weekly chocolate consumption, as well as information on heart disease risk factors, diet and lifestyle. Participants were then tracked on average for 13.5 years.

During the monitoring period, 3346 new cases of atrial fibrillation were diagnosed. This diagnosis rate was 10 per cent lower for those who ate one to three servings of chocolate per month compared to those who ate less than one serving.

The rate was 17 per cent lower for people eating one weekly serving, 20 per cent lower for two to six weekly servings, and 14 per cent lower for one or more daily servings.

But it's not all sweet news.

Researchers from North Carolina's Duke Centre for Atrial Fibrillation cautioned against rushing out and eating a full block based on the findings.

"While the study has many strengths...there are also some notable limitations," Dr Jonathan Piccini and Dr Sean Pokorney wrote in an editorial reply to the research, also published in Heart.

"The chocolate consumers were healthier as they had less hypertension, less diabetes and lower blood pressure," they wrote.

"The chocolate consumers also had higher levels of education, which is often associated with improved health status."

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