CBS Local — Chocolate lovers have a new excuse to enjoy the sweet treat as scientists are suggesting that chocolate can help curb the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat.

Researchers looked at over 55,000 adults in Denmark who were between the ages of 50 to 64. The study, published in the British medical journal Heart, says a moderate amount of chocolate eaten regularly lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation in adults. Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat that can raise the risk of having a stroke.

The participants were reportedly tracked for over 13 years and it was found that those who had chocolate weekly lowered their chance of having the condition by as much as 20 percent. Scientists say the positive effects of eating chocolate tend to level off if a person ate more than two to six servings in a week.

“Our study adds to the accumulating evidence on the health benefits of moderate chocolate intake,” lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky said. The instructor at Harvard’s School of Public Health added that news was sweet for chocolate lovers, but they shouldn’t go overboard. “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.”

According to the CDC, between three and six million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation. The condition is found mostly in adults over the age of 65.

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