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Longevity, Cavities and Acne by Lisa Mecray Rogers

Like fairy tales? Not when it comes to wine or chocolate…

Our next set of fairy tales are about longevity, cavities and acne. Just when you think you have a good handle on something, surprise! Well, it’s time to dispel these common tales. You’ll actually be more motivated to enjoy wine and chocolate every day! (of course, in moderation)

Drinking wine does not have anti-aging benefits?

A long-time controversial tale. Scientists have gone back and forth on whether or not resveratrol, a naturally-occurring polyphenol antioxidant that is found in some plant products like grape skins and cocoa, has anti-aging powers. A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found resveratrol does “prolong lifespan,” overturning a 2010 National Institute of Aging report. And there are hundreds of other studies that also corroborate these anti-aging findings!

According to a team of researchers, resveratrol could be an antidote to aging by slowing down the process and even fending off disease and inflammation associated with getting old. The pharmaceutical industry has taken this seriously and is looking into resveratrol for the prevention of many diseases, including Alzheimer’s. So stay tuned for news there.

So, a glass of red wine a day is the latest anti-aging weapon? I’m definitely in on that! But remember, wine makers use grape skins to make red wine, but they don’t do that to make white wine. Go red!

Chocolate causes cavities…and wine too?

You can close the book on this. The evidence says that chocolate can’t be blamed for cavities. Cavities are formed when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars and starches from any type of food, like soda, candy, bread, rice and pasta to produce acid. This acid eats through the enamel of the tooth, causing a cavity. In fact, studies have shown that chocolate is among snack foods least likely to cause tooth decay and may even provide protective effects on tooth enamel!

And yes, red wine may have a strong role in cavity prevention! A study from Spain shows that red wine is very effective at killing the bacteria that causes cavities. This was the first study showing the antimicrobial properties of wine. So when you see you have red-stained teeth from drinking wine at a party, perhaps you can just say you’re working on preventing cavities!

Chocolate causes acne?

Sound familiar? It’s unclear where the link between chocolate and acne first came from, but well-intentioned adults have been passing it on for at least 100 years. Over the past two decades, research has revealed that chocolate neither causes nor aggravates acne. Most experts today believe acne to be more connected with lifestyle (stress) and hormones than any food at all. Acne is caused by a combination of high bacterial levels and oil on the skin.

Even though many dermatologists doubt that diet plays any significant role in the development of acne, there is evidence that a high-sugar diet can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body -- which can lead to acne. So chocolate can't be directly pinned to breakouts but some types of chocolate fall into the high-sugar category like many other candies, sweets and even soda and other drinks.

So what should you look for from a sugar perspective? White and milk chocolate overall have dairy, more sugar and other additives than dark chocolate. Remember this rule, the higher the % of the cacao or cocoa that you see on the package, the less sugar it has. If it says 72% cacao, it means the remaining balance, 18%, is mostly sugar. If it says 40% cacao, then it’s 60% sugar. If it doesn’t say any percentage, then assume the majority is sugar. A Hershey bar has been noted as having only 11% cacao…or 89% sugar. Personally, I like my chocolate bar to actually have chocolate in it!

Cheers to living longer and looking better! I love that there are more and more compelling reasons to enjoy wine and chocolate daily! Hope you do too.

Stay tuned for the next fairytale installment on wine and chocolate!

~Lisa Mecray Rogers, award-winning Master Chocolatier and Founder of Luxx Chocolat® xquisite artisan chocolate, ChocoVin Chocolate & Wine Tastings® and Luxx Academy du Chocolat offering classes with adults in mind, Ridgewood resident, recognized as one of 2014 and 2013 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America. Luxx Chocolat offers unique handcrafted works of art. Nothing artificial, no preservatives, not mass produced.


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