Chocolate and Wine get a bad rap. We are told all alcohol is bad and sugar is the devil. Some of that is true.
Drinking too much is bad for our health and sugar is overloaded in our diet, unless we consciously make an effort to remove it. But the good news is, there are benefits to these two indulgent treats and what better time to learn them, than the month of February!
Red WineStudies suggest two 4-ounce glasses per day is enough to lower the risk of heart attack, lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood, decrease the risk of heart disease and even decrease the risk of some forms of cancer.
While the “French Paradox” is just a theory, it’s no theory that the wine-loving French suffer 1/3rd the heart attacks we do in America.Wine can improve digestion, promote relaxation and help foster a good mood. Another of the red wine health benefits is wine’s ability to increase the body’s absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
All these important minerals help prevent osteoporosis – another great red wine benefit. Red wine also contains iron, a necessary mineral for oxygen transport in the body. Thus drinking red wine helps deliver the iron necessaryThe health benefits of drinking wine come from the chemical makeup of the wine , not necessarily the alcohol. Alcohol is the byproduct of fermentation, which on its own has tremendous health benefits (if taken in moderation of course).
There are some new studies showing that red wine not only helps in improving heart health but also makes your brain strong. Resveratrol has the ability to resist stroke.
The alcohol itself may help to raise the good cholesterol and inhibit the formation of blood clots. This is called vasodilation, meaning the opening of the blood vessels and increasing blood flow. Alcohol can not be dismissed as one of the health benefits of drinking wine but the real benefits in red wine are the ingredients derived from the grapes themselves. The best part of the grape is the skin.(I’m sorry to report to you white wine lovers that red wine wins the health contest every time.) Since the skins are used in the process of fermentation, their benefits get absorbed into the red wine.
The compound was ingested in animals and the result showed that animals which were ingested with the compound showed less damage in brain cells compared to other animals. The compound helps to reduce the blood clot in the brain and this helps in faster recovery this is one of the red wine health benefits.
"Red Wine Study" conducted at the Georgetown University Medical Center shows that red wine can stop the progression of Alzheimer's. A compound called resveratrol reportedly found in the red wine is found to be beneficial for brain health. Red Wine health benefits are many; it even helps to slim down your waistline. Drinking red wine not only keeps your brain healthy but also your heart, your heart is precious!
In Sweden, more than 31,000 women ate 1-2 servings of dark chocolate each week for nine years. Their risk of heart failure decreased by a third!A recent study conducted in Germany found that eating a square of dark chocolate each day reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent!
The risk of cardiovascular death by 50% over 15 years!Another study, conducted in the United States, concluded that eating chocolate more than five times a week reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%! The findings of these studies are incredible claims for fighting what is now the number one killer in the United States, heart disease.
Eating chocolate to protect your heart sounds a little bit too good to be true (although it’s not!).There are many ways that chocolate offers this superpower.
Consuming dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart, and aid in blood clotting. Much like chocolate’s connection with cardiovascular disease, dark chocolate can also reduce the risk of stroke significantly. Because of cocoa’s ability to improve blood vessel health, blood flows easier and more efficiently to the brain.
First off, dark chocolate appears to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol in the bloodstream. Over time, this causes less cholesterol to clog the arteries of the heart, a major contributor to heart disease.
This is important to consider because the health benefits of chocolate are directly related to the amount of cacao that is present. Overall, dark chocolate is a much healthier option since it provides much more antioxidants and nutrition and less added sugars and fat.
Dark chocolate has more benefits over milk chocolate. Milk chocolate contains significantly less health-promoting cacao beans in comparison to dark chocolate (the cacao bean is where all of the benefits come from!). Milk chocolate, of course, has some or else it wouldn’t legally be considered a type of chocolate. However, it is diluted with milk solids, sugar, and cream. The nutritional quality of this kind of chocolate is minimal, especially when matching it to its dark counterpart.
Italian researchers studied the relationship between dark chocolate and diabetes and the results were surprisingly in favor of the sweet treat! In fact, dark chocolate was shown to increase nitric oxide production, improve markets of insulin sensitivity, and decrease fasting insulin and glucose levels.
In a Canadian study, individuals eating chocolate regularly was 22% less likely to suffer from a stroke versus those who did not eat chocolate. Also, those who had a stroke already (but consumed chocolate regularly) had a 46% less chance of their stroke being fatal.
Of course, these benefits are present only when eaten in moderation. A square or two every other day or so is efficient (and delicious)!
Many studies are emerging in favor of chocolate’s positive role in heart health. While dark chocolate should not be your main skin protection, it does help out! If you are planning to be in the sun for an extended period of time, think of adding some dark chocolate in your diet to utilize these skin-protecting benefits. The results showed that these flavanols worked to improve their brain power.
Chocolate, rich in flavanols, has been proven to improve blood flow of the parts of the brain that are known to contribute to performance and alertness. While this concentration-boost is not age-specific, studies have also been conducted specifically on the elderly to measure how chocolate affects their cognitive ability.
You heard that right! Chocolate makes you smarter!
Stress affects everyone. Some more than others, but it is a part of everyone’s life. I’ve got some good news though…
Chocolate helps to reduce stress!
In moderation, chocolate can significantly reduce the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, and the common metabolic effects stress has on the body. It’s no longer a surprise that when life gets stressful, people usually reach for their favorite chocolatey treats!Eating sweets such as chocolate are usually shamed in the diet world. We are accustomed to equating our weight gain on anything that remotely seems like dessert, right?
However, researchers at the University of Copenhagen may change your mind. According to their studies, dark chocolate lessens cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. Therefore, indulging in a moderate amount of healthy dark chocolate can help you stay on task for weight management by making it overall easier to stick to a diet. That’s a win, win if you ask me!
Too much of a good thing can still be harmful. While dark chocolate offers plenty of health benefits, it still has a fairly high-calorie count and often a sizable amount of sugar. Therefore, it is best to be mindful that you consume this superfood in moderation!No matter if you are indulging or not this holiday, adding red wine and dark chocolate to your diet has many, many benefits. Have a beautiful life filled with indulgence!