Health Benefits: Dark Chocolate & Red Wine

Flowers, boxes of chocolates, heart-shaped everything – when you see all these things in abundance, you know Valentine’s Day is near.

Of course, this is one of those holidays that makes some people exude joy and others so sick they want to exude their lunch. Whichever side you’re on really doesn’t matter. The holiday itself doesn’t even matter for this blog. It’s just a nice segue.

You see, there are two things commonly associated with the holiday that also have surprising health benefits: Dark chocolate and red wine.

It’s time we indulge in both.

Dark Chocolate

Before launching into the benefits, let’s understand not all chocolate is created equal.

Milk chocolate contains more milk and dairy fat than dark chocolate (hence the name). White chocolate technically isn’t even chocolate, as it doesn’t have any cocoa. In contrast, dark chocolate contains little or no milk and is mainly comprised of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar.

The last one is the good one, significantly the higher the cocoa percentage.

Quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and a few other minerals. It also has extremely powerful antioxidants.

Studies have shown dark chocolate can improve blood flow, reduce blood pressure, and reduce your risk for heart disease. In a study of 470 older men, cocoa reduced the risk of death from heart disease by 50% over 15 years. It may even improve brain function and protect your skin from the sun.

Heck, a little bit of dark chocolate can help with weight loss, as it can reduce cravings and suppress your appetite!

It all makes you look a little differently at that box of chocolate, right?

These benefits also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar, per 100 mg. So, even though it has health benefits, still indulge in moderation.

Red Wine                

Wine connoisseurs have for thousands of years touted the health benefits of a glass of red wine a day. But could they actually be right?

Turns out, yes.

While many health nuts will tell you to swear off all alcohol, research shows that in moderation, alcohol like red wine can actually improve your health.

Now, much like there was a side note about the types of chocolate, we’re going to put one here, too. The critical phrase throughout this section is “in moderation.” Drinking red wine in excess, like any alcohol, is not suitable for your health and should be avoided.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s get into the benefits.

According to a 2018 study, drinking red wine in moderation has positive links with:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • atherosclerosis
  • hypertension
  • certain types of cancer
  • type 2 diabetes
  • neurological disorders
  • metabolic syndrome

It’s also high in antioxidants, decreases inflammation, may improve mental health, and even help you live longer.

But what if you like white wine? Well, more research is needed in terms of overall health benefits, but red wine has been found to have 10 times the amount of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant found in grape skins, than white.