(WXYZ) – Chocolate certainly has a bad reputation for causing weight gain but we’ve also heard it may help protect your heart. And there’s more good news as a recent study links chocolate to a lower risk of a dangerous heart condition.
It’s a common condition found in millions of people and it’s on the rise. Atrial fibrillation or AFib for short is estimated to affect roughly 12 million people by 2050. This study analyzed dietary habits and health conditions of over 55,000 Danish men and women. Looking at chocolate eating habits, researchers found those who ate 2 to 6 servings a week showed a 20 percent lower risk for atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where the heart beats chaotically – it can be too fast, too slow or irregularly. When this happens, blood doesn’t flow as it should through the heart. People can live for years without issues but AFib can increase your risk for heart failure, stroke, dementia, blood clots in the heart and death.
1. Live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy diet that is low in trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol and salt.
2. Be physically active. Taking a 30-minute walk is one of the easiest and safest ways to add movement into your daily life – and it’s great for heart health.
3. Reduce stress and anger in your life as these can trigger heart rhythm issues. Learn to meditate, try mindfulness or deep breathing exercises.
4. Treat underlying health conditions like sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid disease. These can contribute to the onset of atrial fibrillation.
This study only showed a link so there could be other factors that lowered the risk of AFib like genetics or lifestyle habits.
Plus, chocolate can be quite addictive and for many, it may be hard to eat a small amount. A serving size in this study equaled one ounce of chocolate, about 3 or 4 squares.
Chocolate can a part of your diet, but you need to eat it in moderation.
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