Senin, 02 Desember 2013

Effects of Dark Chocolate and Red Wine on the Cardiovascular System

Deep dark chocolate, ruby red wine--two of the most rich and decadent foods available to modern humanity. Research indicates that these two foods are also rich sources of compounds known as polyphenols, which may be very beneficial for the human cardiovascular system. Red wine and dark chocolate have become two strong symbols for how eating for pleasure can be the pinnacle of eating for health.


    Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds found in a large variety of fruits, vegetables and spices. Researchers at the Universit Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, in France, identified red wine and chocolate (along with tea) as some of the most potent common sources of polyphenols in our daily diet. They found that polyphenols exhibit many different properties that combine to contribute significantly to the health of our heart and circulatory system.


    The researchers found that the polyphenols present in red wine and chocolate had vasoprotective, antiangiogenic (regulates blood vessels), antiatherogenic (inhibits artery plaque), vasorelaxant and antihypertensive properties. The combined effects of these actions on the entire cardiovascular system makes polyphenol-rich foods like red wine and chocolate great daily sources of heart healthy compounds.


    Chocolate has a long history of being a sacred and valued food in the Americas and was even used as currency by the Maya. Recently, faculty at the University of California, Davis conducted a review of studies done on dark chocolate and cardiovascular health. They concluded that the polyphenol flavonoids in chocolate have substantial benefit to heart health and should be included in doctors' recommendations to patients in moderation.

Red Wine

    Red wine has a long history of use among European countries and is considered one of the healthful components of the Mediterranean diet, which is characterized by its relatively low rate of heart disease. Researchers at the University of Toronto, Canada recently studied red wine's effect on atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. They found that red wine contains a variety of compounds including trans-resveratrol, quercetin and other antioxidants that seem to provide multiple mechanisms for protecting the heart.

Expert Insight

    Interestingly, the oldest recorded lifespan on record belongs to Jeanne Calment of France, who died in 1997 at 122 years of age. According to her wikipedia entry, Calment ate a kilo of chocolate weekly and drank red port wine on a regular basis. She also smoked until she was 117. A recent article in Science Daily reported that studies have shown that dark chocolate reduces the ill effects of smoking on the heart.

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