Here’s Why Wine and Chocolate Are Actually a Perfectly Healthy Pair

Wine and chocolate have always had complementary flavors. Many cooking schools, wineries, and more even offer classes featuring the perfect wine and chocolate pairings. But is it possible that this indulgent pair is actually healthy, too? Surprisingly, yes — wine and chocolate can make a very healthy team.

Wine and chocolate

Wine and chocolate make a great pair. | Sergey Nazarov/Getty Images

Not all wine and chocolate is healthy

The most important thing to know is that not all wines and chocolates are created equal. White wines and sweet wines don’t have many nutritional benefits, since they’re not made with grape skins, which is where most of the antioxidants and health benefits are found. The same goes for milk or white chocolate. White chocolate doesn’t contain any cacao, which is the bean that is derived from the cocoa plant, so it’s missing the main source of nutrition. And milk chocolate, though it does contain cacao, is blended with unhealthy ingredients such as milk and sugar to get it to a certain consistency and sweetness. The addition of high-fat, high-sugar ingredients diminishes any health benefits the chocolate once had.

Red wine contains resveratrol, which is good for heart health

Red wine is produced using the grape skins, which is where the nutrients can be found. Specifically, red wine contains resveratrol. Resveratrol is a compound that helps to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Over time, inflammation can lead to heart disease. Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes (as well as in plenty of other fruits and vegetables), and since the grape skins are used in the production of red wine, some of that resveratrol ends up in the wine you drink. Experts suggest that drinking one glass of red wine each night may reduce your overall risk of heart disease. Several studies have also linked resveratrol to a healthy brain, too.

Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants

Dark chocolate differs from white chocolate in that it doesn’t contain as many unhealthy ingredients as its lighter, sweeter counterpart. You should look for dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao because that means it has the most nutritional benefits. You can purchase a chocolate higher in cacao content, but if the percentage is too high, it becomes extremely bitter. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, so eating an ounce each day can improve overall health. Some studies have linked dark chocolate with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which led to an overall lower heart disease risk.

Pair an ounce of chocolate with a glass of red wine each night for a healthy indulgence

The benefits of a wine and chocolate pairing can only be realized if you’re eating or drinking both the right type and the right amount. One ounce of dark chocolate (with at least 70% cacao content) paired with one glass of dry red wine, such as pinot noir, is the perfect indulgent combination. You can have this pairing every night after dinner as a way to unwind and relax from a long day. It’s delicious, and it’s beneficial. But don’t eat too much or stray to a sweeter chocolate or wine or else you’ll give up those benefits.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!