Taboo no more, I declare wine and chocolate off the naughty list! Many of us are looking for reasons to sip on red wine and enjoy some chocolate without guilt. Doing research online, here is what I found to back my rationale: A study in the journal of Neurology found chocolate may help the elderly keep their brains healthy. Participants who drank two cups of cocoa daily for 30 days showed an 8.3 percent increase in blood flow to the brain, and they improved their scores on memory and thinking tests.
Heart Healthy — Daily chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke according to a 2012 study in the journal BMJ. Dr. Oz backed up this finding with his explanation: Chocolate contains naturally occurring antioxidants called flavanols and epicatechins (two types of flavonoids) that act as polyphenols helping keep your blood flowing freely to decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke, and reduce your blood pressure.
They also help protect your skin from UV damage from the sun – that means fewer wrinkles and a more even complexion.
Potentially Slimming — One study found that people who eat chocolate regularly are more likely to be thinner than those who don’t. People in the study who admitted to eating chocolate five times per week or more had a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) than those who ate chocolate less frequently, according to the 2012 study published the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. Yup, Do Oz confirmed this one too and added that chocolate dampens the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
But it’s not just as simple as spooning some chocolate powder into a warm glass of milk. If you want to reap the benefits of chocolate, you have to be a little more discerning. Follow these guidelines:
Cuts Risk of Cataracts - The Evidence: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.
Lowers Risk of Heart Disease - The Evidence: Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.
Slows Brain Decline - The Evidence: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology, 2006.
Now, I am not an expert, a doctor or a nutritionist so heed my advice with a bit of caution; however, as we head into the holiday season I will do so with a little less guilt!