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Health notes: Dark chocolate, red wine

Dark chocolate, red wine

Thoughts of Valentine’s Day conjure up visions of heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and romantic dinners accompanied by a good bottle of wine. And these can be healthy gifts.

“It’s no secret that research studies reported in the news have shown that dark chocolate can provide nutritional benefits and that red wine can be heart healthy,” said registered dietitian Sheila Sullivan of Food and Nutrition Services at Baystate Medical Center.

“Various studies over the years have shown that eating as little as a quarter of an ounce of chocolate each day may lower your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. But, to maximize the benefits, the chocolate should be dark. Other studies have also long suggested that drinking wine, specifically red wines, in moderation may play a role in preventing heart disease,” said Dr. Gregory Giugliano, associate director, Cardiac Catheterization and Research, in the Heart and Vascular Program at Baystate Medical Center.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that come from extracts of the cocoa bean, and chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa gives your body more of these antioxidants which may contribute to heart health. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat in cocoa, is also the beneficial fat found in olive oil. And, certain chemicals can be found in chocolate that decrease the risk of sugar damage to teeth.


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