Eating Chocolate Could Actually Have Some Pretty Serious Health Benefits

*Goes out and buys chocolate*

Eating Chocolate Could Actually Have Some Pretty Serious Health Benefits

by Alyss Bowen |
Published on

A new study published in the British Medical Journal: Heart has suggested that chocolate could be good for our hearts. According to the study, moderate chocolate intake can have a positive effect on lessening the risk of Atrial Fibrillation, a heart arrhythmia condition. Atrial Fibrillation is the one of the most common arrhythmia in clinical practice, and affects 2.7-6.1 million people in the United States, and 8.8 million in the EU. Also known as 'heart flutter,' the condition occurs when electrical impulses in the heart muddle, and the blood flow is then less effect which increases the chance of a stroke of heart attack.

So, what does chocolate have to do with this? We already know dark chocolate can be beneficial for our health, but what is it about other chocolate products (hiya Diary Milk) that have positive effects on our health?

Tests were carried out at the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study into the effects of cocoa and cocoa-containing food consumption to see if they could promote cardiovascular health. But why cocoa? Cocoa contains high content of flavanols, which are a subgroup of polyphenols with vasodilatory, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. We know that all sounds very sciencey, but bear with us.

Research was conducted from 1993 to 1997 on around 55,000 people between the ages of 50 and 64 in Denmark. They were asked to complete a frequent questionnaire, discussing their daily consumption of foods – including chocolate. Alongside this, their health was recorded and 3, 346 cases of AF were documented among those participating in the 13-and-a-half-year study.

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. Among women in particular, the effect showed that by eating just one portion a week they had a 21 per cent lower risk of developing AF. The study didn’t differentiate between milk, or dark chocolate – but it’s known that in Denmark they favour the milk variety.

We’re obviously not recommending you go out and consume all the chocolate in the world right about now (although that 3pm slump is just about to hit) but it’s quite positive to see that chocolate isn’t all bad and that there are positive health benefits of eaten in moderation. Goes out and buys a bar of chocolate

Like this? You might also be interested in…

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Follow Alyss on Instagram @alyssbowen

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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