Enjoy Your Chocolate and Wine, But in Moderation
Monday March 26th 2007, 10:05 am

While shopping at Wal-Mart yesterday, I was drawn to the aisles loaded with chocolate Easter candy. Easter is less than two weeks away, so I was buying some Easter eggs for our family. I love chocolate, but I don’t enjoy most of the chocolate bunnies and eggs being sold in the stores this time of the year. I prefer candy made with better quality chocolate, the way chocolate used to taste. In order for the big chocolate companies like Hersey, Cadbury and Neilson to make a profit, and still sell chocolate at a reasonable price, they have lowered the quality of it. You can still buy good quality chocolate, but you must pay a lot more for it. In the last few years as I get older, I can’t eat as much chocolate as I used to, without getting a headache, which is probably a good thing.

There is a story in the news today about another new chocolate study. This study shows that eating dark chocolate significantly improves blood vessel function, so is good for your heart. During a six week study, 45 people were given 8 oz of cocoa without sugar, cocoa with sugar, or a placebo each day. The group who had the cocoa without the sugar, had improved blood flow over the other groups. There is also another story in the news today about a study which states that people who consume 6 to 13 glasses of wine a week, had fewer health problems than non-drinkers or heavy drinkers. I am a non-drinker, and I would sooner eat chocolate, than drink wine. There is one thing that both these studies have in common, and that is both chocolate and red wine contain flavonoids, and they are both good for you.

There have been many studies that confirm that flavonoids are good for your heart and your health. Flavonoids have the ability to modify the body’s reaction to viruses, carcinogens and allergens. The way they work is that because our body sees flavonoids as foreign compounds, the body tries to get rid of them as soon as possible. While getting rid of them, enzymes are produced which also help to get rid of carcinogens, and other bad things in the body. Flavonoids produce anti-allergic, anti-flammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer activity in the body. In other words, they get rid of all the things which cause problems in our bodies.

It takes very little flavonoid in order to do this work, so supplements aren’t necessary. Eating small amounts of citrus fruits, berries, onions, parsley, legumes, tea, red wind and 70% cocoa chocolate, will give us the necessary benefits.

I was concerned about why I get headaches from too much chocolate, or any amount of wine. When I looked it up, I found that headaches are caused by the histamines in wine for people who suffer from histamine intolerance. However, all the studies and research which have been done on chocolate, show that there is no evidence that chocolate triggers headaches. I am sure that people who are sensitive to too much chocolate wouldn’t agree with this. It is interesting that most of the foods with flavonoids, are also the foods which are considered triggers for headaches such as red wine, chocolate, cheese and citrus foods. Maybe it is just a coincidence, or maybe some future study will find the connection.

I guess the key to eating these foods is moderation, because it only takes a small amount to do some good. Maybe I should start having an occasional glass of wine. I really don’t like it, but maybe I am missing out on something.

Have a good day,
Anne