A certified cardiologist explains whether chocolate, coffee, and wine are good for the heart

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An outstanding cardiologist, prof. Thomas Lüscher shared his opinion on the effects of coffee, chocolate and red wine on heart health.

Professor Lüscher is one of the most cited scientists in the world. He has received many awards and scientific distinctions, and lectured at several prestigious universities all over the world. For over 10 years he has edited the “European Heart Journal”, one of the best journals on cardiovascular medicine in the world. He sits on the editorial boards of many medical journals.

Chocolate is always bitter, coffee has a protective effect

The scientist and the doctor notices that we have the least problems with dark chocolate. His verdict is “there is joy in the health of the heart.” Coffee also seems to be protective. Red wine is neutral at best. However, the answer to the question whether chocolate, coffee and wine are good or bad for heart health is not really that simple, the scientist says.

– Are wine, chocolate, coffee forbidden pleasures? Well, wine is fun, but at best it is neutral to health when consumed in moderation. Chocolate is good for our cardiovascular system if it is dark and bitter. And the coffee? It awakens us, to be sure, when we drink it regularly, but up to four cups a day may have a protective effect – argues prof. Lüscher.

The scientist admits, however, that despite many studies, we still have large gaps in knowledge when it comes to the effects of wine, coffee and chocolate on heart health. The mystery is, for example, the optimal daily dose of dark chocolate that promotes health. No one has yet given a satisfactory answer to this question because we lack research. In chocolate, the content of organic compounds called flavanols is important.

– Research results have convincingly shown that consumption of cocoa flavanols is associated with health benefits of the circulatory system in healthy women and men. The intake of flavanols significantly improved such parameters of cardiovascular fitness as ischemia-induced dilation and arterial pressure. In the elderly, a diet rich in cocoa flavanols reversed age-related changes in blood pressure and in the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributed to improved circulation. You can read about it on the CORDIS website, which publishes information on research projects funded by the European Commission.

The scientist emphasizes that for chocolate to be healthy, it must contain little sugar or fat. So chocolate, yes, but only dark and white, milk chocolate cannot be said to be healthy.

What about wine?

The professor does not deny himself two glasses of red wine once a week. But no more. He also drinks a few espressos a day. Millions of people around the world do likewise. The effect of coffee, chocolate or wine on the heart depends on many factors, including how often they are consumed and in what amounts and by whom, whether it is a young or elderly person, in what state of health .

“Evidence suggests that coffee and chocolate are associated with a slightly lower risk of heart disease, but alcohol is not,” says Prof. Tim Chico from the University of Sheffield, asked by the Guardian if he agreed with prof. Lüscher.

The key is moderation and variety. Experts agree that heart health is about a healthy lifestyle, not the amount of coffee, chocolate or alcohol you consume. This means exercising regularly, quitting smoking and eating healthy. The most important thing for health is a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Nutritionists remind that we should avoid products rich in sugar, salt, saturated fat, including sweets and cakes.

Watch the video

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Sources: The Guardian, CORDIS

About Peter Wilson

In love with technology, with an eye towards smartphones, he does not disdain any activity linked to the Nerd world. TV series, movies, manga, anime, and comics (Marvel addicted) are the order of the day.

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