Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dark Chocolate and Red Wine

It's good for you—it's bad for you. And the debate goes on. What do you think?

I've seen several surveys lately about the health benefits of dark chocolate and red wine. Since both items are of definite interest to me, I took a definite interest in those surveys. :)

Two surveys about dark chocolate…well, actually one survey listing the benefits of dark chocolate and another survey about how to raise your HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol versus the LDL bad cholesterol) mentions dark chocolate and red wine. And several surveys about red wine.

First the cholesterol survey which appeared in Everyday Health. It listed 7 ways to increase your good HDL cholesterol including such logical things as: exercise, quit smoking, cut sugar intake, eat purple foods (i.e., grapes, plums, raspberries, eggplant), eat fatty fish. Number 6 on that list is "nibble dark chocolate" with nibble indicating moderation. And number 7 on the list is "sip red wine" with sip also indicating moderation.

The survey about dark chocolate was conducted by researchers at San Diego State University and lists 10 benefits. It also stresses moderation. According to this survey dark chocolate: decreases stroke risk, boosts heart health, fills you up (because it's rich in fiber with dark chocolate being better at this than milk chocolate), may fight diabetes (eating chocolate increases insulin sensitivity thereby reducing the risk for diabetes), protects your skin (due to the antioxidants in dark chocolate), can quiet coughs, boosts your mood, improves blood flow (cocoa has anti-clotting and blood-thinning properties), improves vision (increased blood flow to the retina), and finally the survey states that chocolate can make you smarter (due to increased blood flow to the brain).

Now, some of those might sound as if they're reaching a bit to find those positive aspects of eating dark chocolate. I, for one, have chosen to believe them! :)

And on to the subject of red wine. I've read several articles with titles such as: The Truth About Red Wine And Your Health; Women Who Drink Moderately Less Likely To Gain Weight (accompanied by a picture of a glass of red wine); Daily Alcohol Drink May Reduce Risk Of Stroke In Women; Red Wine—To Your Health!; and Green Tea, Red Wine And 5 Other Ingredients To Stop The Clock.

These articles first and foremost stress moderation. Benefits derived from having a glass of red wine every day are NOT increased if you increase your red wine intake. In some instances, the health benefits are not only negated, your health risks are increased if you increase your intake.

Red wine is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and resveratrol being the two main types. Doctors have linked a number of significant health benefits to drinking red wine: reduction of heart disease, protection against cancer, protection against neurological disorders (such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's) and other health benefits (such as dental health).

So…nibble that dark chocolate and sip that red wine. Who would have thought those words would be an Rx for good health! :)


Susan Macatee said...

LOL, Samantha! Nibble and sip. Easier said than done. I'm not much of a wine drinker, though I do enjoy it on occasion. But I do love chocolate. I like those dark chocolate Hershey Kisses as well as the mini Peppermint Patties.

The problem is, trying to limit the intake. They can be addicting.

Samantha Gentry said...

Susan: I was notified that you had left a comment, but there weren't any here. Finally occurred to me to check the comment spam folder and there it was!

Since I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, I was pleased to find that the dark is "good for you" in 'moderation' of course. :)
Hmmm...perhaps 'moderation' is one of those things that's in the eye of the beholder.

You're right...the problem is trying to limit the intake.