By Tamika Seeto
Produced for online by Melissa Mackay
A small amount of chocolate per week can help prevent atrial fibrillation, a common heart condition that makes the heart beat at an abnormal rhythm, according to a new Harvard University study.
The study analysed the diet of more than 55,000 people in Denmark over the past 13 years to find that the reduction in AF was highest for people consuming two to six servings of chocolate a week.
But cardiologists say the observational study should be taken with a grain of salt.
Heart Research Institute Professor of Cardiology Ben Freedman warns people should not view the study too seriously.
“We don’t want people saying ‘eat lots of chocolate and prevent AF’, because all it was was a reduction in the instance of it,” he says.
“It’s not really a way to stop the disease from happening.”
Heart Foundation of Australia nutrition manager Maria Packard says this does not mean people should go on a chocolate binge.
“I think the bottom line from this is that you can enjoy a small amount of chocolate… as part of a balanced diet..but it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s an excuse to eat a lot more chocolate,” she says.
Dessert franchise Max Brenner general manager Yael Kaminski says they have always known chocolate has health benefits.
“Well we’ve known for years that chocolate is good for you – it’s one of our major slogans!” she says.
“But again, everything in moderation.”