Monday, February 11, 2013

Dark Chocolate and Red Wine Not Only Romantic Gifts

MELROSE PARK, Ill. - If you want to keep your true love's heart beating strong, Susan Ofria, clinical nutrition manager at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, said the real food of love is dark chocolate and red wine. In moderation, red wine and dark chocolate are good health choices not just on Valentine’s Day, but for any occasion.

"You are not even choosing between the lesser of two evils, red wine and dark chocolate have positive components that are actually good for your heart," said Ofria, a registered dietitian at the Loyola University Health System's Melrose Park campus.

Red wine and dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher contain resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Red wine is also a source of catechins, which could help improve "good" HDL cholesterol.

Ofria, who is also a nutrition educator, recommends the following list of heart healthy ingredients for February, which is National Heart Month, and for good heart health all year.

Eight Ways to Say "I Love You"

Red wine - "Pinots, shirahs, merlots - all red wines are a good source of catechins and resveratrol to aid 'good' cholesterol."

Dark chocolate, 70 percent or higher cocoa content - "Truffles, soufflés and even hot chocolate can be a good source of resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids) as long as dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is used."

Salmon/tuna - "Especially white, or albacore, tuna and salmon are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and canned salmon contains soft bones that give an added boost of calcium intake."

Flaxseeds - "Choose either brown or golden yellow, and have them ground for a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, phytoestrogens."

Oatmeal - "Cooked for abreakfast porridge or used in breads or desserts, oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, niacin, folate and potassium."
Black or kidney beans - Good source of niacin, folate, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and soluble fiber.

Walnuts and almonds - "Both walnuts and almonds contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber and heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats."

Blueberries/cranberries/raspberries/strawberries - "Berries are a good source of beta carotene and lutein, anthocyanin, ellagic acid (a polyphenol), vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber."

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.