A new study has found that consuming chocolates regularly may help to lower the risk of developing irregular heartbeats. Irregular heartbeats are a condition that affects over 33 million people worldwide, with one in four adults likely to develop it at some point during the life course. Previous research has found that eating chocolates, especially dark chocolate, helps to improve heart health. Scientists, including those from Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in the US, wanted to see if it may be linked to lower rate of atrial fibrillation, also known as heart flutter. It is not clear exactly what causes the condition, and there is currently no cure or contenders for its prevention. The associations seemed to be strongest for 1 weekly serving for women and between 2 and 6 weekly servings for men, according to the research published in the journal Heart. Researchers have collected the data from 55,502 (26,400 men and 29,100 women) participants, aged between 50 and 64. Participants have provided information on their usual weekly chocolate consumption, with one serving classified as 30 grammes. Information on heart disease risk factors, diet, and lifestyle was obtained when the participants were recruited to the study. Their health was then tracked using episodes of hospital treatment and deaths. During the monitoring period, which averaged 13.5 years, 3,346 new cases of atrial fibrillation were diagnosed. After accounting for other factors related to heart disease, the newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation rate was 10 per cent lower for 1-3 servings of chocolate a month than it was for less than 1 serving a month.

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