The benefits of dark chocolate and red wine
30th December, 20130 Comments
Written by: Kevin Shore BSc (Hons) Public Health Nutrition
During Christmas and the New Year, it is certainly not uncommon for people to overindulge a little. Having worked hard throughout the year on your healthy eating plan and exercise programme, you may find yourself slipping from those good habits as you get into December and put a little weight on and then be determined to lose it all again in the new year.
Believe it or not, there are actually some benefits to eating dark chocolate and drinking red wine, but only in small amounts. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in the body caused by free radicals. This oxidative stress can lead to an increased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. Therefore, it is important that we eat a healthy balanced diet that is nutritionally complete and we get plenty of antioxidants that will reduce oxidative stress.
Obviously, we do need oxygen to live, but oxygen does actually cause us to age faster. An example is the rust on a car, which is partly caused by oxygen. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables and eating at least five portions a day is a great way to get antioxidants into our diet and to help reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of having a stroke and coronary heart disease.
Amazingly, some dark chocolate in the diet can actually reduce the risk of a stroke and coronary heart disease. The optimal amount of dark chocolate in the diet is equivalent to one bar of chocolate per week. Red wine also contains antioxidants and drinking moderate amounts of red wine, about 1-2 standard sized glasses (125 ml per glass) per day has been shown to actually reduce the risk of having a stroke compared with non-drinkers.
Remember that one bar per week of dark chocolate and 1-2 standard sized glasses (125 ml per glass) of red wine per day can actually form part of a healthy balanced diet. The key is in moderation, but too much dark chocolate and red wine will increase the risk of having a stroke and coronary heart disease.
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