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Health Benefits of Red Wine, Dark Chocolate Questioned


Please say it isn’t so: Enjoying red wine and dark chocolate for your health may not be as healthy as we think.

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the amount of resveratrol consumed from our diet is not enough to have any effect on longevity, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. After tracking 783 people for nine years, those who had higher urinary resveratrol levels were no more or less likely to develop heart disease or cancer or to pass away than those with lower levels.

While the research suggests that a person would have to drink hundreds of glasses of red wine a day to match the amounts used in previous resveratrol studies, it doesn’t mean there still aren’t some benefits to consuming red wine and dark chocolate. [Tweet this good news!]

Resveratrol is a non-flavonoid antioxidant, part of the polyphenol group, which is one of many types of antioxidants. This polyphenol group also consists of flavonoids. In general all antioxidants are known to fight against free radicals in our body and have certain benefits.

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For example, quercetin, another polyphenol antioxidant, is found in red grapes and is anti-inflammatory. There is also research to suggest that alcohol itself has some heart benefits, as it may help raise a person’s HLD (good) cholesterol.

As for cocoa, there are some studies that claim there are beneficial bacteria that reside toward the end of our digestive tract that ferment antioxidants and fiber to create anti-inflammatory compounds.

So I think there is still reason to believe that both dark chocolate and red wine have some health benefits—perhaps not from the resveratrol but from other nutrients. The key though is to remember that in either case, more is not better. With alcohol one should stick with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines that define moderate drinking as consuming up to one drink per day for women (a standard drink is 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of regular beer). As for dark chocolate, stick to about a one-ounce square for day.

There really is no argument in my opinion that indulging your sweet tooth or savoring a glass of wine every once in a while doesn’t feel great—and that’s a health benefit on to its own.


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