By Erin Wyatt A Recent ASU Nutrition Student
Valentine’s Day is when we celebrate the love in our hearts. We do this with cards, flowers, candy, and romantic dinners. What if I told you that some of these items are actually good for our hearts, physically? This two-for-one deal can be found in delicious red wine and dark chocolate! You may have already heard that red wine and dark chocolate are good for you, but do you know why? I decided to do a bit of research on this because, frankly, these are two of my favorite things and I needed to know if I was just fooling myself by saying they were healthy.
Antioxidants, Be Mine
It turns out that red wine and dark chocolate both contain an antioxidant called polyphenol. Antioxidants combat harmful free radicals in our bodies. Scientific research has shown that polyphenols can reduce oxidative stress and lower LDL cholesterol levels.1 We all know that higher levels of cholesterol contributes to heart disease, so we should take advantage of any chance we get to reduce it. Before you go drinking an entire bottle of wine, please note that more wine does not equal more health benefits. In fact, more than one glass for women and two glasses for men could have adverse health effects, so please enjoy in moderation. You may be wondering if this antioxidant property applies to all types of wine. Alas, this quality is reserved for red wines only. Polyphenols are only located in the skins of the grapes, which is why they are found in red wines, as opposed to white wines.2 Luckily, the state of Arizona produces some fine red wines, which can be found here.
So this Valentine’s Day, celebrate your heart in more ways than one. If red wine and dark chocolate will not be part of your Valentine’s Day celebration, I have included a few other ways for you to get this heart-loving antioxidant. I hope you enjoy these treats as much as your loved ones!
Sources of Polyphenols:
- Black tea
- Black beans (perhaps not the most romantic option…)
- Black currants
- Di Renzo L, Marsella LT, Carraro A, Valente R, Gualtieri P, Gratteri S, Tomasi D, Gaiotti F, De Lorenzo A. Changes in LDL oxidative status and oxidative and inflammatory gene expression after red wine intake in healthy people: A randomized trial. Mediat Inflamm. 2015; 2015, 13.
- Tian L, Wang H, Abdallah AM, Prinyawiwatkul W, Xu Z. Red and white wines inhibit cholesterol oxidation induced by free radicals. J Agr Food Chem. 2011; 59 (12), 6453-6458.More about Erin:
Erin (Wyatt) King is a new mom, recent ASU Nutrition student, and longtime food lover. Erin resides in New York City where she has worked in the fashion and film industry for over 13 years. She aspires to utilize her degree and media experience to communicate nutritional information in a fun and relatable way, in hopes that everyone may have the chance to live healthfully and happily.