Valentine’s Day Love, Chocolate and Wine good for the Heart
Being involved in a healthy, loving relationship is good for the heart and might even help keep coronary artery disease at bay. Cardiologist Julie Damp, M.D. also says a bit of darn chocolate and wine are both heart healthy additions to give to a loved one on Valentine’s Day.
Damp says being married or on a close relationship provides strong social support and healthier behaviors like physical activity. People in loving relationships are less likely to smoke.
“There is a theory that people who are in loving relationships may experience neuro-hormonal changes that have positive effects on the body, including the cardiovascular system,” Damp said in a press release.
Conversely, relationships that are full of negativity and conflict are shown in studies to promote heart disease.
Damp says there’s nothing wrong with showing your love with gifts of dark chocolate and wine on Valentine’s Day.
The heart healthy benefits of dark chocolate and wine come from flavonoids that help the blood vessels relax. The result is lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
But she warns moderation is important. “Fat and calorie content of chocolate also needs to be taken into consideration and kept consistent with a healthy, balanced diet.”
One glass of wine a day for women and two for men might lower the chances of heart disease that can lead to heart attack. If you want to skip the wine, consider grape juice. Add some fruits dipped in dark chocolate like dark chocolate covered strawberries, pineapple or cherries. A Valentine’s day full of love, a bit of dark chocolate and a glass of wine are all good for the heart.
Julie Damp, M.D.
Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologist
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
February 13, 2012
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