Eating a small amount of chocolate can help prevent heart failure a new Swedish study has found.
A nine-year-long study of 31,832 Swedish women found that eating one to two servings of high-quality dark chocolate per week cuts the risk of developing heart failure by 32 percent.
The women who indulged two or three times a month had a 26 percent reduced risk, the UK's Daily Telegraph reported.
But those who had at least one serving a day didn't seem to benefit from the heart-protecting benefits.
Lead researcher Dr Murray Mittleman, director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Harvard University in the US, said the lack of a protective effect for those eating it every day was most likely due to the additional kilojoules found in chocolate.
"You can't ignore that chocolate is a relatively calorie-dense food and large amounts of habitual consumption is going to raise your risks for weight gain," said Dr Mittleman.
"But if you're going to have a treat, dark chocolate is probably a good choice, as long as it's in moderation."
Previous studies have shown that flavonoids found in chocolate may lower blood pressure though this is the first long-term study to relate the consumption of chocolate to a reduced risk of heart failure.
The study was published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation: Heart Failure.