This is a particularly fun blog for me to write, because I don’t think there is a chocoholic out there who doesn’t love hearing about the health benefits of chocolate, and I happen to be a bonafide chocoholic!

Maybe it’s the delicious taste, maybe it’s the way it sends thousands of feel-good hormones rushing to my brain, or maybe it’s the decidedly false rationalization that chocolate somehow makes every candy bar a health food; whatever it is that makes chocolate so magical, it is greatly expanded upon by the numerous scientific studies that prove eating chocolate is good for us.

And now there’s another one!

Recently, even more chocolate health benefits were revealed after the medical journal Heart published the results of a nearly 25-year long study that found eating chocolate may reduce your risk of developing the serious heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation (A-fib).
According to the American Heart Association, at least 2.7 million U.S. residents suffer from A-fib. The disorder causes the heart to quiver or beat irregularly and can lead to blood clots, strokes, heart failure, and even death.

But based on the results of the latest study on chocolate health benefits, those who ate a small amount of chocolate on a weekly basis were 17 percent less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation than those who ate chocolate less often or not at all.

Interestingly enough, chocolate health benefits seem to vary depending on your gender, at least when it comes to helping prevent A-fib. For women, eating one ounce of chocolate per week was associated with the lowest risk of developing A-fib, whereas men benefited the most from eating two to six ounces per week. And while these findings hardly seem fair for chocolate-loving females, data from the study also suggested those who eat chocolate regularly consume more calories yet have a lower body mass index (BMI) regardless of their gender. Nice.

“I think our message here is that moderate chocolate intake as part of a healthy diet is an option,” said the study’s lead author, Elizabeth Mostofsky, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Mostofsky says she believes chocolate health benefits come from certain compounds found in cocoa seeds called flavanols that are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. And although much of the chocolate consumed today is a combination of healthy cocoa, unhealthy vegetable oils, and even more unhealthy added sugar, it still reigns supreme as one of the heathiest “unhealthy” foods. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is decidedly healthier than it’s white or milk chocolate cousins.

But if you’re not a dark chocolate fan, don’t worry, our Smart for Life® Chocolately Protein Coins have the sweet, melt-in-your-mouth chocolately flavor you crave but without the added sugars, oils, or other health-sabotaging ingredients. Plus, they have protein and fiber too, as if chocolate couldn’t get any better.