Is your favorite vice really that bad for you? Find out how the heart benefits from sex, chocolate, wine and even the sun.
Imagine enjoying wine, chocolate, and sex with your beloved on a private, sunny beach. Worried about the heart health vice squad issuing a citation?
Long considered bad news the heart, your favorite vice could actually have health benefits if indulged in moderation. Rather than limit or eliminate wine, alcohol, chocolate, and even sex from your daily life, consider the potential health benefits.
Sex and Heart Health
By having sex three or more times a week, men reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half and that heart patients are no likely to suffer a heart attack during sex than those without heart disease. Additional health perks of sexual activity include less depression and pain due to the hormones secreted during sex. Doctors advise people with heart disease to consult their personal physician about their individual cases, however.
Dark Chocolate Sweet for the Heart
Chocolate lovers rejoice! Dark chocolate has been shown to help chronic fatigue syndrome, high blood pressure, cough, and a host of other problems. In addition, the antioxidants in dark chocolate act as an anti-depressant.
Many of the health benefits from chocolate seem to stem from antioxidant flavanols (a type of favonoid), which are also found in other plant foods including tea, grapefruit, grapes and wine. The cocoa bean happens to be extraordinarily rich in them.
Because chocolate tends to include cocoa butter and sugar that can, if consumed in excess, burden the heart, doctors suggest enjoying dark chocolate in moderation.
Sun at the Beach Good for the Heart
The sun can shine healing rays onto the heart. The vitamin D in sunshine can positively affect high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, and more. The benefits of sun exposure is lessened by sunburn, however. Skin cancer can be caused by too much sun, a person’s genes, skin type, and amount of sun exposure. Studies indicate that a large dose of sun in a short time frame is more harmful than small amounts over time.
Red Wine, Alcohol and Good Cholesterol
Toast to better heart health with a glass of red wine or any alcohol in moderation, according to The Mayo Clinic. The antioxidants in red wine can prevent arteries from becoming clogged. In addition, these same antioxidants can be found in red and purple grapes. Studies also indicate that alcohol itself, when consumed in moderate amounts, can benefit the heart by raising “good” cholesterol and by reducing the formation of blood clots.
The Mayo Clinic advises men limit alcohol consumption to two five-ounce glasses daily, while women should limit intake to one five-ounce glass. People who take aspirin daily should reduce alcohol intake, and people with weak hearts or pregnant women should not drink any alcohol.
When deciding whether to enjoy dark chocolate, wine, alcohol, or sex, Dr. Teitelbaum suggests listening to your body and being aware of what makes you feel better or worse. If something is bad for you, it will typically make you feel bad. But moderate indulgence in your favorite vice may be more than okay, it could be optimal for your heart and general health.