Hey lovebirds: Indulge your heart
If you are planning to run out and grab some last-minute chocolates for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, or if you plan to pop open a bottle of red wine to celebrate, go ahead, indulge yourself. Researchers say sipping a glass of red wine or having a dark chocolate truffle or two won’t hurt.
Valentine’s Day falls smack dab in the middle of American Heart Month, and physicians at Advocate Health Care say chocolates, red wine and loving relationships can also be a sweet combination for your heart health.
It turns out that both dark chocolate and red wine are packed with antioxidant properties that can help keep your heart beating strong. Red wine contains resveratrol, a plant compound high in antioxidants that have been shown to help increase good cholesterol (HDL).
HDL helps removes harmful bad cholesterol, which reduces the risk for developing heart disease.
Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that have heart-protecting properties too. But be careful with your dark chocolate selections. The right recipe includes 60 to 70 percent cocoa. The more bittersweet the taste, the higher likelihood you have hit a home run.
Finally, one of the best ingredients to good heart health, says Dr. Vincent Bufalino, senior vice president of cardiovascular services at Advocate, is healthy and loving relationships. According to Bufalino, emotional health and heart health are definitely linked. Researchers have found a positive correlation between people with loving, less stressful relationships and longer life expectancy.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.