Enjoy these two Valentine’s Day “indulgences” all year long!

Today, on Valentine’s Day, you may indulge in some dark chocolate and red wine. But, really, you should enjoy these treats all year long, as they offer some pretty impressive health benefits.

Let’s jump right in…

Enjoy the heart-healthy benefits of this dark delight

I write a lot about the science-backed health benefits of dark chocolate.

For one, dark chocolate contains many more flavonoids than does milk chocolate. These potent antioxidants help reduce your risk of heart disease by preventing blood clots and protecting the walls of your blood vessels.

Plus, unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate doesn’t contain added sugar, which is the real cause of obesity, Type II diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

I always suggest opting for dark chocolate that contains at least 75 to 85 percent cacao. And remember, even if you think you don’t like dark chocolate, give it a try. A study found that most people can easily tolerate it, even if they prefer milk chocolate.

I also think a piece of rich, dark chocolate pairs beautifully with a nice glass of red wine. (Again, not just on Valentine’s Day!)

Red wine isn’t just for lovers

I’m forever grateful to Paul and Rosa Meehan, my friends from high school and college days, for introducing me to the delightful combination of dark chocolate and red wine during the holidays back in the early 1980s. (Their dad was Chairman of Physiology at University of Southern California School of Medicine, so I could trust their recommendation!)

Of course, like chocolate, red wine has many health benefits. (Really, drinking any type of alcohol—in moderation—confers these benefits.)

For one, thanks to the same heart-healthy flavonoids found in dark chocolate, drinking red wine thins the blood and improves circulation, which reduces your risk of developing dementia, heart disease, and Type II diabetes. Plus, drinking red wine reduces stress, the No. 1 silent cause of heart disease.

Interestingly, beer and dark chocolate also go quite well together, as I learned when I lived in East and Southeast Asia, where red wine was often unavailable or just too expensive.

In my view, it’s no coincidence that cultures around the world have been making toasts “to your health” in various languages for centuries. After all, moderate drinking brings us together with family and friends and helps lift our spirits. In fact, one study found that moderate drinking to raise mood works better than a fast-acting antidepressant. (An important point to remember today especially, as some single people find it difficult to keep their spirits high on a day promoted completely to couples.)

So, today, I hope you have the good fortune to share a special meal with your partner…or good friends or family. It’s important for your physical and mental health. And while you’re at it, go ahead and enjoy some dark chocolate and a glass of wine. Or even a beer or a cocktail, if that’s what suits you.

P.S. You can also take extra steps to protect your heart this winter (and year-round) with the steps outlined in my online Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!