Wine and chocolates are both classic indulgences that have long been considered little more than sinful splurges with little nutritional value. However, both substances provide significant health benefits when consumed in moderation. Following are five benefits of adding wine and chocolate to your daily dietary routine.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is found in both red wine and dark chocolate that is believed to be good for the cardiovascular system, helps lower ""bad"" cholesterol, and is instrumental in keeping blood sugar levels in check. Resveratrol may also help protect against the onset of Type II diabetes and obesity. Dark chocolate should have at least a 70 percent cocoa content in order to have adequate levels of resveratrol. Consumers should be aware that milk or white chocolate will not provide the same benefits as dark chocolate, and that resveratrol levels in white wine are low.
Tannins are another heart-healthy substance that is found in both red wine and dark chocolate. Besides promoting good cardiovascular health, tannins are believed to help guard against cellular damage and to prevent bacterial buildup in the mouth. Besides wine and chocolate, tannins are found in black tea, coffee, grapes, blackberries, cranberries and several other types of dark berries. They are not found in any significant amount in white wine or white or milk chocolate.
Flavonoids are a large family of nutrients that contain multiple health benefits. Like tannins and resveratrol, they promote good cardiovascular health. They are also rich in a variety of antioxidants. Flavonoids also support the central nervous system and contain anti-inflammatory properties. Evidence suggests that they may help guard against the development both lung and breast cancer. Besides red wine and dark chocolate, flavonoids are found in vibrantly-colored foods such as bright orange peppers, berries, and dark fruits.
Dark chocolate and red wine both release organic compounds known as phenylethylamines into the brain, resulting in increased production of serotonin and endorphins. Both of these substances are proven mood enhancers that can do a great deal to keep stress and anxiety levels down. Decreased amounts of stress are associated with reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other adverse health conditions.
Wine and chocolates are generally consumed in pleasant, socially interactive atmospheres, and studies have shown that relaxation and pleasure are an important aspect of maintaining good health. People with active social lives are known to live better, longer lives than their more isolated counterparts. Meeting friends for a glass of wine after work or enjoying a decadent chocolate dessert during a dinner in a fine restaurant with a friend, partner, or family member are examples of the types of positive atmospheres that can have a significant impact on health.
Consuming too much wine or chocolate, however, is not advisable under any circumstances. In order to get the most from these substances, consumers should take care to regulate their usage to one or two glass of wine per day and one or two squares of dark chocolate per day.