If you enjoyed a glass of red wine and a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day this weekend, you’re not alone. Both are known to fire up the romance. But research is showing that wine and chocolate can be good for your physical heart, too.
Red Wine’s Superpower: Resveratrol
At the heart of the argument that red wine is good for your health is resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. Resveratrol is a polyphenol that can reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, prevent blood clots, and reduce inflammation. It’s found in the skin of grapes, including those present in the wine fermentation process.
Some studies have found resveratrol helps lower incidences of obesity and diabetes in mice. Both diseases are risk factors for heart disease. However, to get the benefit, you would have to drink 1,000 liters of red wine every day!
Drinking 1,000 liters of red wine is clearly not realistic. Doctors suggest drinking in moderation to benefit from the antioxidants in red wine. Healthy adult women and men over 65 should limit themselves to one 5-ounce glass per day. Men 65 and younger can drink up to two 5-ounce glasses. People with heart disease or weak hearts should avoid alcohol altogether.
Chocolate: It’s all about the Flavinoids
Some studies have shown that chocolate has similar health benefits to red wine. Like the libation, chocolate can be rich in antioxidants, especially flavonoids and flavenols. These antioxidants can lower blood pressure and improve the function of your veins. They may even help reduce cell damage in your heart.
However, only certain chocolate contains these helpful antioxidants. Plain cocoa has a very pungent taste few people enjoy. The flavonoids give chocolate this taste. Companies often process their chocolate to get rid of the pungent taste, but doing so reduces the flavonoids, too.
To get the most out of your chocolate, look for dark chocolate over milk. Find cocoa powder that has not been through the Dutch processing method. Since chocolate often contains added sugar and fat, be sure to limit your portions to 1 ounce a few times per week.
Red wine and chocolate are decadent treats that can help keep you healthy, too. To find other products that are good and good for you, contact me today.
Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!
Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance