Roald Dahl, who wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” was buried with a good supply of chocolate and red wine, along with snooker cues, pencils and a power saw. Apparently, he knew chocolate and red wine are two healthful choices. (We’re not sure what to make of the other supplies!)
Red wine in moderation has long been touted as heart-friendly, and now a vast new study in the journal Heart reveals that regular enjoyment of chocolate is associated with a lower waist-to-hip ratio and a 23 percent lower risk of stroke. Plus, it helps cool inflammatory CRP proteins and reduces the risk for diabetes. And compared with folks who ate no chocolate, higher intake was linked to a 25 percent lower risk of cardiovascular-associated death.
That’s because chocolate’s polyphenols help reduce your blood pressure, decreasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. It also looks like those polyphenols decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and as a summer bonus, they may help protect skin from the sun’s UV rays.
How can you get chocolate into your diet without falling for candy bars laced with sugar, palm oil, corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors? We recommend having one ounce a day of 70 percent cacao dark chocolate after dinner (Dr. Mike grabs three 22-calorie chocolates a day) or try unsweetened cocoa powder added to black beans seasoned with cinnamon and hot sauce. You also can grate it and sprinkle it over your morning oatmeal with unsweetened almond milk.
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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.