Regular chocolate consumption, particularly of dark chocolate, has been linked to improvements in various indicators of cardiovascular health. Now, findings from a new study suggest regular chocolate consumption may also be inversely associated with atrial fibrillation (AF) risk.
After analysing data on 55,502 participants from the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study, the authors found that the rate of newly diagnosed AF was 10 per cent lower for those who ate 1-3 servings of chocolate a month than it was for those who ate less than one serving a month, after accounting for other factors related to heart disease. The risk was 17 per cent lower for one weekly serving, 20 per cent lower for 2-6 weekly servings, and 14 per cent lower for one or more daily servings.
Writing in Heart , the authors cautioned that, more often than not, chocolate is eaten in high-calorie products containing fat and sugar, which are generally not considered good for heart health and said more research is needed to confirm the findings.
In a linked editorial , Sean D. Pokorney and Jonathan P. Piccini said it will be interesting to see if chocolate is an effective preventive therapy, adding “perhaps what is bad for the pancreas is good for the atria”.