We hear it more and more how red wine and chocolate are full of antioxidants and therefore are good for us. But, what exactly are antioxidants and can wine and chocolate really benefit our health and fitness?
Antioxidants are compounds that protect against cell damage inflicted by molecules called oxygen-free radicals. According to the USDA, antioxidants help prevent chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants may lower the risk of these diseases.
The American Heart Association states that supplements are not a sufficient source of antioxidants and recommend that we obtain them from natural food sources. The AHA further states on their website that “At this time, the scientific evidence supports a diet high in food sources of antioxidants and other heart-protecting nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts instead of antioxidant supplements to reduce risk of CVD (Cardio Vascular Disease).
Antioxidants can't be stored like nutrients, so a constant replenishment is needed. Eating natural foods high in antioxidants throughout the day is a good way of maintaining high levels of disease fighting compounds in your system.
Some Foods high in antioxidants are:
- small red beans
- wild blueberries
- red kidney beans
- pinto beans
- green tea
- cultivated blueberries
So, does red wine contain antioxidants? Yes. But, Raw Chocolate, also known as Cacao Nibs, contain 20 times more antioxidants then red wine! This natural food product consists of Magnesium, Iron, and Vitamin C.
Has 30 times more antioxidants then green tea and also contain a high amount of fiber. Cacao is a form of raw dark chocolate unprocessed from the mineral rich rainforest of Ecuador. If taken directly it is
rather bitter and has an acquired taste at best, however, it does blend good with your favorite beverage
and dessert recipes. Sprinkled on Ice cream, yoghurt, or mixed in with your coffee.
It is a good substitute for chocolate chips. The only caution is that this product may contain shell fragments from the cacao bean itself which makes it somewhat harder to digest when taken raw. It has 13 grams total in fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 15milograms of sodium, 4 grams protein, 21% vitamin C, 314% iron and 24% magnesium. The cacao nibs cost about $10.00 for an 8 ounce bag and are sold online but if you want to save on shipping and handling costs, try a local whole foods or health food store. Another great thing about cacao nibs is that they give you a boost like espresso or an energy drink without the crash and burn.
Since the health risks of alcohol consumption may outweigh their benefit. Consider the fact that
there are literally thousands of much healthier sources of antioxidants than drinking wine.