Feel guilty for reaching for that second piece of chocolate? You shouldn’t. In fact, go right ahead and grab a few more.
Chocolate has always been a double-edged sword when it comes to health. It’s packed full of heart-loving flavonoids, antioxidants and a lot of sugar. But, a 2017 Harvard University study has found that even eating up to six servings of chocolate a day can have a positive effect on your health.
Analyzing data from more than 55,000 participants in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Study, researchers concluded that higher levels of chocolate consumption can result in a reduced risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), commonly known as a heart flutter.
The study comes as welcome news. About two percent of people in the U.S. under 65 suffer from the condition, which has been linked with an increased risk of heart failure and stroke.
The most outstanding benefits of chocolate consumption were seen in male participants. The likelihood of developing AF dropped by 23 percent in men when two to six servings of chocolate were included in their diets each week. In women, the effects were linked to eating just one portion a week. It saw a 21 percent decrease in developing the condition.
A portion, mind you, isn’t that entire Mars Bar. For the purposes of the study, a mere 30 grams equalled a single serving. However, even the lead author of the study, Elizabeth Mostofsky, says that rushing out to buy a block might not be the best idea.
"Eating excessive amounts of chocolate is not recommended because many chocolate products are high in calories from sugar and fat and could lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems,” she cautioned.
“But moderate intake of chocolate with high cocoa content may be a healthy choice.”
So, it seems opting for small pieces of dark chocolate is the way to go — but we were already doing that!
*+This post was written by our sister site, Food to Love.