Chocolate and wine may be one way to your lover’s heart, but did you know that they may also be good for it?
As this Valentine’s Day approaches, a Lahey Health expert shows some love for two traditional treats: chocolate and wine. Both have health benefits, but only if you partake in moderation.
“Chocolate and wine contain antioxidants and polyphenols, which repair damaged body tissue and reduce inflammation,” said Helen Long, a registered dietitian at Winchester Hospital. “Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which can reduce damage in blood vessels.”
Research has shown dark chocolate has other potential health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure. Long said that in order to reap the most benefit, choose dark chocolates with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher.
“Compared with milk chocolate, dark chocolate provides higher levels of antioxidants that can slow cholesterol plaque formation in blood vessels as well as flavanols that may lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and reduce blood clot formation,” Long added.
Red wine, another Valentine’s Day favorite, contains another antioxidant called resveratrol, which may decrease inflammation. Long said this is good for health, but added a note of caution.
“Don’t start drinking now if you have health problems or don’t drink alcohol now. There are other ways to get these beneficial compounds such as fresh fruits, vegetables, green tea, olive oil and whole grains,” she said.
For more information on heart healthy treats, talk with your Lahey Health physician.