Though the jig may be up on red wine, the other half of an indulgent Valentine’s Day may not be not so bad for your health.
Regular chocolate consumers ourselves, we’ve made no attempt to hide our love for it, and for good reason. Contrary to its bad rep, chocolate, especially the dark varieties, are not too bad for you in moderation.
The high fat content in chocolate is obviously not great for you, but in moderation fat is not something you need to worry too much about avoiding, especially if you’re a runner. Plenty of research and surveys have found that regular chocolate intake is actually correlated with lower body fat percentages.
So what’s happening? Chocolate is high in flavonoids, the darker the better. Flavonoids are good in keeping insulin resistance low, so a diet high in flavonoids makes you less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and keeps your waistline thinner.
Other foods high in flavonoids are berries, herbs and grapes (the latter of which often makes headlines for claims that red wine is good for keeping off weight, an idea which doesn’t shake out as well as in practice as theory), though dark chocolate packs notable levels of them.
As for the red wine, people raved for a brief period that drinking a glass of red wine was as good for you your cardiovascular fitness as an hour of exercise, which is not true. All the studies have been done on mice and red wine wasn’t even used. The mice were tested for the effects of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, though far from the only thing in there. If a human were to drink enough wine to take in the relative levels of resveratrol the mice were being pumped with, they would die of alcohol poisoning long being seeing any cardiovascular benefits.
Still, none of this is to say don’t enjoy your Valentine’s Day. Most of us are runners because we enjoy the lifestyle and a glass with your girlfriend isn’t going to kill you.