Medical researchers have identified a compound that may reduce your risk of a dangerous type of heart rhythm that can lead to strokes, dementia, heart failure and early death.

In a study of more than 55,000 Danish men and women who were tracked for up to 16 years, people who used this compound were up to 20 percent less likely to experience the heart condition. In general, the higher the dose, the lower the risk.

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What is this wonder drug? Chocolate.

Ingredients in chocolate are known to counteract some of these problems. For instance, chocolate contains flavonols that can prevent the kind of inflammation that can lead to tissue damage. They may counteract clots that could form when an irregular heartbeat allows blood to pool in the heart.

The results were published in the journal Heart.

Before you head out to the candy aisle, know this: More research is needed. And chocolate is full of sugar, fat and calories. But moderate intake of chocolate with high cocoa content may be a healthy choice, researchers concluded. You can read more at latimes.com/health