LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Thursday is Valentine's Day, a day traditionally associated with love and all things that make your heart go pitter-patter.
A lot of Valentine's out there will celebrate with dark chocolate and red wine, two things thought to be good for your heart.
THV11’s VERIFY team finds out if that's really true.
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Our sources include Arkansas Heart Hospital Cardiac Electrophysiologist Doctor Monica Lo, along with the Mayo Clinic, and an 11-year study published in the medical journal "Heart."
"It's controversial and it depends," said Dr. Lo. She said red wine and dark chocolate have long been thought of as heart-healthy mainly because they are rich in protective antioxidants but in her opinion, moderation is key. "If you are already a wine drinker and you drink in moderation then a glass of wine at dinner can be helpful for the heart," said Lo.
First, red wine.
We look to the Mayo Clinic which agrees, it's confusing, saying, "Links between red wine and fewer heart attacks aren't completely understood."
But researchers there go on to say that one antioxidant in red wine -Resveratrol- might help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces LDL cholesterol and prevent blood clots.
But what about dark chocolate?
"Also, the Anti-inflammatory effects is what should protect the heart and dark choc has more cocoa and lower glycemic index compared to other types of sugars," said Lo.
An 11-year study in the medical journal "Heart" echoes what Dr. Lo shares, suggesting, "Higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events" perhaps also because of "flavonoid antioxidants" which protect against cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Lo said the key to it all is moderation. "Yes, in moderation in terms of red wine if you are already a wine drinker, one glass a night with dinner. Dark chocolate if you eat in moderation over some of the other sugars with high glycemic index," she added.
Dr. Lo, along with the American Heart Association and many other experts do not recommend you start drinking alcohol or consuming large portions of dark chocolate just because there could be a benefit. But a bite or two of chocolate or a sip of red wine for Valentine’s Day may contribute to a healthier heart.