Healthy Living Tips: Week 4 – Red Wine and Dark Chocolate
08 August 2011 8:22pm
On the face of it alcohol and chocolate surely can’t be healthy in any capacity; in general this statement is true but not if you consider the benefits of red wine and chocolate.
In addition to bringing out the flavour in food, red wine is strongly linked to a variety of health benefits. Studies have shown that drinking wine in moderation — a glass or two a day — can lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.
- Antioxidants: Red wine is full of antioxidants, namely resveratrol. Antioxidants repair cell damage caused by harmful oxygen by-products in the body. Some research has found that antioxidants can help reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration and diabetes.
- Cancer prevention: Resveratrol has also been shown to minimize the risks of some types of cancer. It helps prevent DNA mutations that could lead to cancer, and it prohibits new blood cells from encouraging cancer growth.
- Heart disease and stroke prevention: Resveratrol may help reduce the risk for heart disease and strokes. It has blood-thinning capabilities, which helps prevent blood clots from forming. In addition, resveratrol lowers levels of low-density lipoproteins, (LDL i.e. the “bad” cholesterol) in the blood, which prevents the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Dark chocolate contains nearly 8 times the number of antioxidants found in strawberries. Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure and balance certain hormones in the body.
A small bar of dark chocolate can:
- Lower Cholesterol by reducing LDL numbers
- Lower Blood Pressure.
Other benefits include:
- Stimulation of endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure
- it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant
- it contains stimulants.
Some of the fats in chocolate do not impact your cholesterol. The fats in dark chocolate are 1/3 oleic acid, 1/3 stearic acid and 1/3 palmitic acid:
- Oleic Acid is a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
- Stearic Acid is a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
- Palmitic Acid is also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.
This means that only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you.
Please note: milk chocolate and white chocolate don’t have the same health benefits. Try to avoid fillings like caramel or nougat and avoid milk with chocolate as this may prevent the absorption of antioxidants.
All in all, red wine and dark chocolate in small doses can be beneficial to you so go ahead and treat yourself (and stay healthy)
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SUSU recommends that you always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health, or plan to change your diet dramatically. Please treat the content within this blog as general information only, and not as a diagnosis. We cannot accept responsibility for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor do we endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites