Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate, Red Wine And Fish Oils For The Heart

By Dr. Harold Gunatillake — Health Writer

This would be the subject most readers were waiting for and my self-esteem would go sky high, and most likely considered a friend, of the ‘lifestyle’ ladies of all age groups.

All along it was revealed that dark chocolates were good for the heart because of its high source of anti-oxidants including flavonoids. Flavonoids are found in the plant pigment that aid in strengthening the connective tissues of the blood vessels. Chocolate is made from plants containing flavonoids. Flavonoids in chocolate are strong antioxidants. Dark chocolate contain a large number of antioxidants, nearly eight times the number found in strawberries. These flavonoids help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide.

So, we are emphatic that dark chocolate is good for health of the heart. Just a small bar of dark chocolate consumed daily will lower your blood pressure.

Chocolate contains saturated fat like stearic acid, palmitic acid, and also monounsaturated fats like oleic acid, that will influence the blood cholesterol level.

Antioxidants help the immune system to protect the body from aging, and lower the risk of infection by eradicating the free radicals that cause damage to the body cells and cause chronic illnesses and death.

Research conducted in Stockholm County, Sweden, as a part of the Heart Epidemiology Programme observed that patients who regularly ate dark chocolate were less likely to die after the first heart attack.

These data were collected from patients hospitalised following confirmed heart attacks and when compared with patients who never ate chocolates, the results were better for those who consumed it two or more times per week. Current research reveals that dark chocolates do more benefits than only for the heart.

Benefits to the brain

Early sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease should eat plenty of dark chocolate. A study done at the University of Oslo in Norway has found a direct correlation between chocolate cocoa and brain function of the elderly. The study which included 2031 participants who were given dark chocolates for a long period, found that their cognitive functions (faculty of knowing), after eating chocolates had improved. Dark chocolates increase the blood flow to the brain and this improvement is attributed to better oxygen supply to the brain cells. Chocolates could show improvement when used in the treatment of dementia and stroke. Chocolate stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure. So there, a ‘must’ tip for honeymooners.

Chocolate also contains serotonin, which functions as an anti-depressant. Bananas also have serotonin. Chocolate also contains theo bromine, and caffeine which are stimulants.

Benefits to the skin

Eating dark chocolates may protect the skin against harmful ultraviolet light from the sun, responsible for premature aging.
Research conducted by Tulane University doctoral candidate, Arman Sadeghpour, showed that a compound in chocolate called theobromine may help harden tooth enamel, which helps to prevent cavities.

In the future, this white crystalline powder may be added to toothpaste.

Benefits of Wine and Tea

Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in plant-derived foods and are powerful anti-oxidants. Polyphenols are in abundance in red wine, tea, cocoa and coffee.

Flavonoids

Flavonoids mentioned earlier are a subclass of polyphenols.

Wine and Tea are flavonoid-rich beverages that may have dual effects on health and cognitive function. The polyphenols found in the skin and flesh of red grapes is called anthocyanadines

Red wine contains a chemical called ‘resveratrol’ found in the skin of red grapes, considered a growth inhibitor and prevents cancer growth, and also benefits and influences our cardiovascular health.

Modern alcohol consumption, mainly red wines, is associated with better cognitive function and reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in general. Heavy alcohol intake has been considered to be one of many causes of dementia.

Dark chocolates, like other cocoa products, may contain greater amounts of flavonoids, than teas and red wines.
Ingestion of flavanol-rich cocoa is associated with increased blood flow to cerebral gray matter; will benefit when the blood circulation is reduced to the brain as in dementia and stroke.

Research done by Eha Nurk, Helga Refsum, Christian A. Drevon, Grethe S.Tell, Harald A. Nygaard, Knut Engedal and A. David Smith at the Department of Nutrition of Oslo on elderly people has revealed that habitual intake of flavonoid-rich foods such as chocolate, wine and tea is associated with better cognitive performance, reduced cardiovascular risk, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Fish Oils

Eating fish or taking fish oil capsules rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent heart disease. The best fish choices would be salmon, lake trout, mackerel, sardines and albacore tuna. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are referred to as essential fatty acids (EFA) because unlike saturated fatty acids they cannot be synthesised in our body. Fish body oil contains docos hexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA). Both these chemicals are required for brain health and also decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids also cut the risk of death, heart attack, and dangerous heart rhythms in people with cardiovascular disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids also lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol, decreases blood pressure, and lowers triglycerides in the blood.

Docosahexaenoic acids (DHA)

DHA fatty acids are used to treat type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, dementia, attention deficit-hyperactivity (ADHD), vision improvement in age related macular degeneration, and stressful situations.

DHA is used in combination with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) for a variety of conditions, including the prevention and reversal of heart disease, stabilizing heart rhythm, asthma, cancer, painful menstrual periods, lung diseases, and certain kidney diseases.

It is used in combination with primrose oil, thyme oil and vitamin E to improve movement disorders in children with a condition called dyspraxia. (ref: WebMD Nov 20, 2009) Omega 3 is found in cell membranes and within cells in the body. Brain and eyes need a lot of omega 3.  They are important oils for pregnant mothers. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a necessary component for the development of the brain in the baby.

Omega 3 fatty acids are necessary for the growth and development of newborn infants and babies. Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory action and enhances our immune system.The bottom line is, eat a piece of dark chocolate after meals everyday, a glass of red wine before your main meal, and fish oil capsules – at least two capsules (1000mg in each capsule) of omega-3 fish oil — in the morning with breakfast. Living healthily, longer, is guaranteed.

2 Comments for “Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate, Red Wine And Fish Oils For The Heart”

  1. Gilbie

    I am a dark chocolate eater… since I was pregnant. At first, It was all just a “I have no choice” thing cause my mother was the dark chocolate fanatic not me. But since it was all what’s inside the fridge, so i really had no choice… I ate a few cuts of the bar till I gradually noticed that it didn’t taste that bad after all… they say it’s bitter but as years past — my taste buds liked it. Dark chocolates saved me and my daughter inside my womb while I was still pregnant till I gave birth…It’s a long story but to make it short — DARK CHOCOLATE — A LIFE SAVER!

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