Dark chocolate contains a specific compound that may reduce your chances of developing an irregular heartbeat. This heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation, can lead to strokes, dementia, heart failure, and early death.
A 16-year study conducted on more than 55,000 Danish men and women revealed that those who ingested chocolate were 20% less likely to have atrial fibrillation than those who didn’t. Elizabeth Mostofsky, an epidemiologist who studies risk factors for cardiovascular disease at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, led the group of medical researchers to find the connection between chocolate and atrial fibrillation.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, atrial fibrillation is a common type of arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heart beat, causing it to beat too fast, slow, or irregularly. During atrial fibrillation, electrical signals cause one’s heartbeat to contract very fast and irregularly.
How do you prevent these problems from happening? Chocolate. Specifically, dark chocolate, which contains flavanols that prevent inflammation leading to tissue damage. In addition, flavanols can also counteract blood clots from forming due to an irregular heartbeat causing blood to pool in the heart.
Although the study presented a lower risk of atrial fibrillation with chocolate, you should not solely rely on chocolate to decrease your risks. Dark chocolate does contain many health benefits but should not be the main way to treat atrial fibrillation. Eat chocolate in moderation with a high cocoa content, like dark chocolate.