February 13, 2020
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Suelyn Boucree, M.D. contributes to topics such as Internal Medicine.
By Natalee Ruddock-Gorousingh
The season of love is upon us. If you are having trouble finding thoughtful and healthy Valentine’s Day gifts, why not skip the flowers and jewelry this year and try these tasty treats that are surprisingly good for you.
“The world goes crazy over Valentine’s Day and sometimes we don’t realize the foods used to create the atmosphere of romance have amazing health benefits,” stated Suelyn Boucree, M.D., MBA, FACP, ACHE.
Here are five treats that are not only romantic, but are healthy and a sure way to impress your lover this Valentine’s Day.
A popular treat all year round, dark chocolate is sure to create an atmosphere of romance. Real dark chocolate— unlike processed and sweetened milk chocolate contains flavanols and is packed with nutrients. Flavanol is rich in antioxidants that can help boost your immune system, protect your skin against sun damage and increase blood flow.
Studies have shown that dark chocolate can also help reduce the risk of heart attacks, lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The higher the cocoa content of the bar, the better it is for your health. Look for bars with 70% cocoa or more.
We have always been told of the amazing health benefits of eating strawberries, and we can’t have Valentine’s Day without strawberries – so it should be no surprise it made the list. Strawberries are packed with vitamins and fiber and high in polyphenol and anthocyanin.
Research has shown that strawberries decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. Strawberries are also high in potassium, which is linked to improving cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain and known to lower blood pressure. Additionally, the high fiber content, vitamin C and folate is effective in reducing cholesterol.
Filled with vitamins and antioxidants – cherries offer an array of health benefits. Numerous studies show that cherries may reduce the risk of several chronic inflammatory diseases, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Reports have also suggested that cherries have helped to improve sleep and cognitive functions.
In moderation, red wine has been shown to provide surprising health benefits – and you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy a glass.
If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means: Up to one glass a day for women, and up to one drink a day for men older than age 65.
Red wine contains resveratrol, the main ingredient behind many of wine’s health benefits. Like many of the other treats mentioned, red wine can improve heart health, cholesterol, and lower your risk of diabetes. It is also an immune booster and can prevent bone loss due to its high silicon level.
This treat is truly deserving of its own recognition and should be popped open more than just on Valentine’s Day. This delight is made from red grapes that contain polyphenol.
Researchers have reported that polyphenol may lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and boost digestion. It is also good for heart health and improves the overall health of your skin.
As with all treats, these should be consumed in moderation. We should never over indulge, as these treats may be counterproductive. This Valentine’s Day, treat that special person in your life with treats that are good for their health. When done in moderation, these treats are sure to be a hit.
Dr. Boucree is a part of Hackensack Meridian Health Medical Group, a network of over 1,000 physicians and advanced providers at more than 300 practice locations throughout New Jersey. To find a doctor near you, visit HMHMedicalGroup.org.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.