Does this prove Chocolate is actually good for you?

Experts at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts found a regular treat slashes our risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm by more than a fifth

It turns out, indulging in moderate amounts of the treat is associated with a lower risk of a common type of irregular heartbeat that can lead to unsafe conditions, according to a new study.

A Harvard study looked at 55,000 men and women in Denmark.

Eating chocolates regularly may lower the risk of developing irregular heartbeats, a condition that affects over 33 million people worldwide, a new study claims. After adjusting other factors connected with heart disease, the rate of atrial fibrillation that was newly diagnosed was 10 percent lower for 1-3 chocolate servings in a month than it was for less than a single serving in a month. The results were similar for men and women but the amount of chocolate consumed varied.

There's good news out of Harvard University, where researchers say including chocolate in your diet could keep your heart healthy.

Readers deserve to know that actually, while the research may be intriguing-and possibly worthy of further exploration-this study and so many other diet studies like it just aren't conclusive of anything.

In the Danish study, the chocolate consumed had relatively low concentrations of possible protective ingredients, though there was still a significant association between small amounts of cocoa consumption and better heart health.

They suggest that "antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiplatelet properties of cocoa" may be the reason for lower rates of AF among chocolate eaters.

However, a Swedish study published earlier this year revealed a more complex result. The benefit leveled off slightly with greater chocolate consumption, with those eating one or more servings per day having a 16 percent lower AF rate on average. 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. Most chocolate eaten in Denmark, as in the United Kingdom, is milk chocolate with a lower concentration of cocoa solids - typically not less than 30%.

According to their reported diets at the beginning, those who ate around 30 grams of chocolate per week had a 17% less chance to be diagnosed at the end of study.

The association was found to be strongest when women consumed one weekly serving of chocolate and between two to six servings for men.

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 researchers were also quick to point out that though chocolate was the substance being indicated in the study, it is cocoa and not commercial chocolate products that protects against atrial fibrillation. While moderate consumption of chocolate was found to be associated with lower rates of heart failure, the positive effect vanished in people who ate it daily.

Although the study shows a clear link between chocolate consumption and the risk of atrial fibrillation, it doesn't prove that chocolate was responsible for the reduced AF risk.

Still, Bond said that in her own practice she is "currently recommending to my chocolate-loving patients the consumption of dark chocolate - in moderation".

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