Are you interested in foods that say, “I love you” and really mean it?
Two of my favorites are the timeless combination of red wine and dark chocolate. If you have a taste for one, the other, or both, I think you’ll be interested to find out the great health benefits each of them offer.
Red Wine –
A dark complex Cabernet Sauvignon to a light and simple Valpolicella, what a way to relax after a long day!
One glass of red wine a night has been shown to be heart healthy while possessing relaxation properties. Rich with antioxidants, anti-aging and cancer preventative properties, like Melatonin (which aids in regulating our sleep clock) and Reservatrol (shown to protect against Alzheimer's disease and dementia); varietals including Pinots, Syrahs and Merlots contain the highest levels of these healthy components. Who could say no to a savory nightcap that can reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, boost your immune system and promote restful sleep?
Dark Chocolate –
Slightly sweet with a hint of bitterness, there are countless flavor combinations from plain or fruity to the exotic!
Dark chocolates that are 70% or higher in cocoa content contain high levels of cell-protecting antioxidants and mood elevating components. Dark chocolate contains more than 500 natural chemical compounds. A few of them include: Phenylethylamine (PEA: A chemical that tells the brain to release endorphins which are mood-elevating and pleasure-inducing.), flavanols (Plant-based antioxidants that may improve blood flow and promote healthy vessels.) as well as copper, magnesium, iron, potassium and copper. Dark chocolate is also low-glycemic meaning it is a carbohydrate that breaks down and releases into the bloodstream at a slower rate.
PHEW - Like I need any more reasons to feel loved!
A sliver of decadent dark chocolate is a healthy solution to that after dinner 'sweets' craving and pairs really well with a glass of red wine.
As always, remember that moderation is the key! Wine and chocolate are still calories that must be accounted for if you’re looking to reach and/or keep your fitness goals. Most chocolates come scored and are easily broken apart. Practice taking one square out and putting the rest away so you’re not tempted to indulge. Do the same for your vino portioning… One glass and the rest is stored for next time!
Also, add cacao powder to your grocery list. Its a great super-foodie way to add flavor and nutrients to shakes and recipes without the sugar of syrups or chocolate chips. Navitas Naturals sells a great brand at Whole Foods.