Wine and Chocolate Nutrition 101February 12, 2016
A Toast to Heart Health
The Holidays have quickly gone and passed along with the New Year…. Now, let’s honor February’s heart health month! The Mediterranean Diet has been thought of as one of the most heart healthy diets for it’s rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats and moderate wine consumption. Many aspects of the Mediterranean Diet make it a good plan, but likely the antioxidants found in many of it’s components are likely it’s claim to fame.
Let’s start out with Red Wine, in moderation of course! Antioxidants, found in wine, are compounds that help prevent free radicals in your body from multiplying. They’re found in higher amounts in the darker wines and can even help your increase your HDL Cholesterol and improve the health of your blood vessels by reducing inflammation. Specifically, resveratrol, is most associated with improved health outcomes in those that drink moderately. It comes directly from the grapes during fermentation (and not found in fresh grapes!). If you don’t already drink or are pregnant, I would not recommend starting. However, a shift from high sugar cocktails to a glass of Red Wine a day is a great swap. Remember, a 5 oz. Glass of wine is the serving size, as many bars and restaurants over pour.
A Dietitian talking about health benefits of Chocolate? Yes. There are health benefits that are found in cocoa powder in it’s finest similar to those of blueberries and broccoli! Dark Chocolate from at least 60% cocoa has been linked with improved cholesterol, lower blood pressure independent of weight loss and healthier blood vessels in general. Did you know a square of chocolate has 5 times the flavonoids as an apple? Chocolate also contains natural caffeine and calcium! Although, more isn’t better and most chocolate out there today is much higher in sugar. Enjoy a small square for a sweet tooth or try adding cocoa powder to chili, sauces and smoothies!