The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Fitness Friday: let them drink wine and eat chocolate

Double dark chocolate bark with nuts and red wine make for great brain food. (Karen Elshout/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/KRT)

It is easy for someone on a strict diet plan to want to stray away from eating healthy greens all the time. As humans, we like to indulge and treat ourselves every now and again. Enjoying a sweet snack won’t be detrimental to your overall health, if done in moderation. However, there are two things people can indulge in that will actually promote their overall health: red wine and dark chocolate.

Prohibition was put to an end in 1933, and since then, people have been able to enjoy alcoholic beverages. Within the past century, however, alcohol has received a negative reputation because of the severe damages it does to the liver and when worse comes to worst, it can kill you if you intake too much at once, or even over an extended period of time. However, what many people are not aware of are the benefits alcohol has, other than the fact that it makes people feel good when enjoying the buzz.

The main benefit of alcohol in moderation is that it lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and decreases the development of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty plaques in the blood vessels, particularly those that supply the heart.

In a Copenhagen City Heart study, 13,285 men and women were observed over the course of 12 years. In the study, the participants consumed 0-2 alcoholic beverages per day. A standard single drink measures around 1.5 ounces of liquor, five ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. The study found that the risk for coronary heart disease decreased by 32 percent when consuming one to two drinks per day. The results suggested that people who drank red wine as their beverage of choice during this study had half the risk of dying from coronary heart disease or stroke, compared to those who never consumed wine. The participants that drank beer did not receive these benefits.

Although red wine is shown to decrease certain health risks, is must be done in moderation. Overindulging every now and again can be expected when celebrating or going out with friends and family, but if you are doing it purely for the purpose of extrapolating the health benefits of it, moderation is key.

Another thing people love to treat themselves to is chocolate. However, the health benefits are mostly found in dark chocolate. Cocoa is one of the best sources of antioxidants found on this planet. When factories add all the additional sugars that make certain chocolates taste sweet, it reduces the benefits.

Good quality dark chocolate, with a high percentage of cocoa, contains a significant amount of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Although a bar of dark chocolate may contain these things, there is still sugar added to these sweet treats, so it is also recommended that it be consumed in moderation.

Dark chocolate is also proven to promote blood flow and lower blood pressure. It contains nitric oxide, which sends signals to the arteries to relax, lowering the resistance of blood flow. With the increase in blood flow (on top of the fact that cocoa contains a caffeine stimulant), it is also linked to improvements in cognitive functions, verbal fluency and mental impairment.

Studies have also been conducted that revealed that those who ate dark chocolate five or more times per week over a fifteen-year period, lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57 percent.

Although this may sound exciting, not all chocolate can be treated the same. These benefits will only be seen in quality dark chocolate with a 70 percent or higher cocoa content. The cheaper, more flavorful and sugary chocolate will not provide the same benefits.

So for those who think they can’t enjoy a sweet treat or celebrate life with alcohol every now and again, these are outlets that provide alternative healthy ways to indulge without overdoing it.

More to Discover