Question: How many times do you read about "treat foods" that are good for you? Answer: Not very often. That's why when there's some good news in the treat department, I like to tell you about it. So, anyone with atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter (or anyone who doesn't want to get either of these conditions), here's a treat for you.
Recently, researchers looked at 26,400 men and 29,102 women between the ages of 50-64 years old. At the beginning of the study, they asked them how often they ate chocolate. Then for the next 13.5 years, they monitored the group for who developed two different heart conditions: atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. Here's what they discovered.
The men and women who ate chocolate at least one to three times a month had a 10% lower risk of either problem than those who never indulged. It was 17% lower for those eating chocolate at least once a week. And it was 20% lower for those averaging two to six servings per week. Here's why this is important.
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Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter can be serious. They can cause weakness, shortness of breath, heart failure, and even strokes. And they're fairly common. There are already about 2.2 million people in the United States with atrial fibrillation. And it's getting more and more common. The latest statistics show that 5.9% of those over 65 have atrial fibrillation. So, as you get older, it may be a good idea to eat some chocolate every day. According to these numbers, if everyone did that, there would be 400,000 fewer people in the United States with atrial fibrillation!
So enjoy some chocolate, preferably dark chocolate. Don't go hog wild on it. But feel free to enjoy one piece every day or so. Your heart will thank you.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Mostofsky E, Berg Johansen M, et al. Chocolate intake and risk of clinically apparent atrial fibrillation: the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study. Heart. 2017 May 23.