February is Heart Month, the perfect opportunity to pair a gift of dark chocolate with a bottle of wine for someone you love. When consumed in moderation, both wine and chocolate are a no-guilt option. They both contain antioxidants that are good for our health.
Muscadine wine contains many healthy properties. In the 1500s, the first explorers to the Outer Banks of North Carolina discovered a land plentiful with grapes. A grapevine, known as the Mother Vine, has been legendary in the state for years. It is believed to be hundreds of year’s old, possibly dating back to the early settlers, and is the oldest known cultivated grapevine in the country.
The grapes, known as Scuppernongs, are a variety of Muscadine. Cuttings from the Mother Vine have been used to start vineyards such as Duplin Winery in Rose Hill, the largest and oldest winery in the state, and the world’s largest muscadine wine producer.
Muscadines contain antioxidants which help promote heart health. They are high in ellagic acid, which helps fight cancer. Their high levels of resveratrol help lower cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary disease. In addition to muscadine wines, both red and white wines also contain antioxidants such as resveratrol, which comes from the skin of grapes. Grape juice and grapes also contain antioxidants that contribute to heart health.
Chocolate is one of the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts. Dark chocolate, in particular, contains antioxidants that contribute to heart health. It has to be dark chocolate; milk chocolate or white chocolate simply don’t have the same health benefits and they are often in products that contain a lot of sugar and fats.
One research study showed that those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate each week cut their risk for heart failure by as much as a third. It contains many other health benefits as well. That’s sweet news for chocolate lovers. Go for the dark chocolate that is at least 72% cacao.