Does Wine + Chocolate + Workouts = Healthy Heart?

By Laurel House

Some people believe that "healthy" means sticking to the straight and narrow when it comes to lifestyle choices. While that might be true in terms of your figure, rounding your diet with a few splurges (in addition to a regular workout routine) can in fact be essential components to health… of the heart!

Gotta love the researchers who took it upon themselves to study wine and chocolate and their effects on heart health. Both, turns out, are brimming with antioxidants that help keep blood vessels healthy.

Why is Wine Heart Healthy?

When it comes to wine, it's the naturally occurring Resveratrol that, according to the Mayo Clinic, reduces "bad" cholesterol build-up in the blood vessels, protecting the lining and preventing blockages. Note: Because Resveratrol comes from the skin of red grapes, you'll only experience wine's heart-health benefits when imbibing on red wine.

How can Chocolate Keep Cholesterol Levels Low?

Dark chocolate, when consumed over an extended period of time (not all at once, mind you), keeps blood vessels stocked with Epicatechin- a particularly active plant-derived flavoniod (yes, dark chocolate is a product of a plant) that helps keep standing cholesterol from gathering, while reducing the risk of blood clots, and keeping blood healthfully flowing.

So If We're So Healthy from Wine and Chocolate, Why Exercise?

Exercise has been proven to be enormously beneficial in preventing heart attacks and stroke. A 2007 Harvard study showed a direct link between exercise and a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke in women ages 45-90. But, Jessica Smith, an ExerciseTV trainer, reminds "everything in moderation! Too much wine (or even exercise!) can be detrimental to your health. Creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle (one that includes moderate wine consumption- if you enjoy it) is the key to a healthy, happy heart." If you want to jump start your cardiovascular health enhancing workout routine, try Jessica's Fast Fat Burn on Exercise TV:

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