Coffee, wine and chocolates are good for your heart

7 September 2006

DailyRecord.co.uk

By Natalie Walker

Coffee, red wine and chocolate are the key to preventing heart disease, it was claimed yesterday.

Glasgow University professor Alan Crozier told a conference the so-called “bad foods” actually protected the heart and arteries.

And he told delegates: “Have a cup of coffee, drink two or three glasses of red wine a day, take a cup of green tea, eat 100 grams of dark chocolate and be happy.”

He was addressing the World Congress of Cardiology in Barcelona.

The professor said all the foods he mentioned were rich in antioxidant properties.

They protect the heart and arteries from oxidative damage, similar to the rust that develops on metal after a period of time.

Dark chocolate can boost levels of antioxidants in the blood by 20 per cent while drinking red wine can also help fend off heart disease.

Professor Crozier said that New World wines with ample sunshine, including Chile, Argentina, Australia and South Africa, were the best when it comes to producing the antioxidants.

Table grapes, which were often picked early, had fewer antioxidants even when they were of the same variety as wine grapes, which had been left to ripen thoroughly.

But the Glasgow professor of plant biochemistry and human nutrition warned that because of the adverse effects of excessive alcohol, it should be no more than 2-3 glasses of red wine per day.

He said milk chocolate did not have the same healthy properties as dark.

A recent study revealed that you need twice as much milk chocolate as dark chocolates to obtain the same amount of antioxidants.

Professor Crozier said: “Eating seemingly ‘bad’ foods may seem like a good idea, and in fact can be not too bad a thing – if chosen carefully and eaten in moderation.

“Foods with high levels of antioxidants can cut the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.”

Some fruits and vegetables also have high antioxidants.

Adding cherry tomatoes to a salad rather than normal sized tomatoes can also boost health as they contain 10 times the level of antioxidants.

And using lollo rosso lettuce will provide much higher amounts of antioxidants than iceberg lettuce.

Professor Crozier also said that frozen berries such as blackberries, redcurrants and raspberries were a rich source of antioxidants.

STUDENTS should be given fish oil to boost their brainpower, it was claimed yesterday.

After trials in England, scientists believe omega-3 fatty acids in the oil can improve mental ability.

Fish oil has already been heralded as good for arthritis and heart disease.