(WGGB) — For Valentine’s Day you may have your heart set on a special dinner, sipping a glass of wine or indulging in a chocolate truffle or two. You may be surprised to find out that you can do all this and still do good for your heart health.
Valentine’s Day is February 14, right in the middle of American Heart Month. Doctors from the Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic say loving relationships and that heart-shaped box of chocolates are good for you.
Red wine contains Resveratrol, a naturally occuring plant compound that has antioxidant properties which “has been shown to help increase your good levels of cholesterol, which is your HDL, and helps with blood pressure,” said Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic.
“Dark chocolate has flavanoids which also helps with good cholesterol, blood pressure as well as protecting the cells with the antioxidant properties,” said Zumpano, “which in turn helps your LDL, the bad cholesterol, come down.”
But don’t think you can go and eat any old box of chocolate. It needs to contain 70 percent cocoa, according to Zumpano. “That bitter taste you get from that very very dark chocolate… gives you the greatest amount of that antioxidant… which does provide all those heart-protective benefits,” Zumpano said in an interview with ABC40.
But it’s not only about what you eat during Valentine’s Day, it’s also that relationship you’re celebrating that can benefit your heart.
“Your emotional health and your hearth health are definitely [related]. It’s taken modern medicine hundreds of years to recognize this,” said Cleveland Clinic Cardiac Surgeon Dr. A Marc Gillinov, MD, “but people who are in a stable, loving relationship live longer and have fewer heart attacks.” Gillinov said these findings may have to do with reduced stress and the support of a companion.
So as you celebrate V-Day, remember that you are keeping your cardiac condition above par.