Chocolate, coffee and red wine may not benefit the heart: Study

Heart Foundation revealed in a recent review of over 100 studies over the last decade that claims of chocolates, red wine and coffee that are supposedly loaded with antioxidants that do good to the heart are unreliable.

According to Heart Foundation's national director of healthy weight, Susan Anderson, the benefits of dark chocolate, red wine and coffee are over-hyped. This review according to her is an attempt to prevent misleading communities. “The evidence is just not there in terms of prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease….We're concerned about people thinking that in having red wine or dark chocolate that they are actually doing something to treat or prevent cardiovascular disease when the evidence doesn't support that,” Ms Anderson said.

Antioxidants are present in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, cereals, nuts, seeds and in green or black tea. These are easily absorbed and prevent free-radical mediated cell damage. Free radicals are not thought to be the basis for many diseases including cancers, heart disease, stroke etc. The review did not approve of Vitamin C and E supplements that have been taken over years for their anticipated antioxidant benefits.

The study showed that while raw cocoa is rich in antioxidants, the final product chocolate loses these. A cup of coffee does have antioxidants but researchers say that it also contains oils which raise the ''bad'' LDL cholesterol. These oils are removed with paper and metal filtering and in instant coffee, but remains in boiled coffees such as Turkish and Greek-style brews. “If you make coffee with a plunger or if you're boiling it on a stove top, then it will still contain the oil and that will raise the LDL cholesterol…So for people who consume a few coffees a day, that's quite important,” Ms Anderson said. She assured that coffee, chocolates and wine can still be a part of a healthy balanced diet but along with at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day.
The review findings will be sent to health experts and doctors, added Ms Anderson.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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