Sweet dreams for Valentine's Day

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

Valentine's Day is coming up and I plan to make chocolate and wine the highlight of the experience with my lady. I know people always cite the bad things about chocolate in terms of weight gain and such, and for wine, it's always about how it impairs the body's functions. But I've read research which shows certain health benefits from having a glass of wine, and even from having chocolate! Can you elaborate on a few of these benefits so that I can show it to my lady if she has any hesitation about indulging with me?

I am getting the feeling that your special lady has been significantly there for you and you just want to show your appreciation with some love and affection. Hey, what better day to do this than Valentine's Day, and what better way to do this than to incorporate wine and chocolate into this special occasion? However, I do understand her concerns about the possible negative effects of indulging in wine and chocolate. But with some minor adjustments on the day and my list of the health benefits of wine and chocolate, you might just be able to pull it off!

Since the romantic experience you are planning may provide more calories than usual, you could suggest to her that she goes lighter on her eating up to say, dinner time. So she could be eating more fruits, vegetables, soups, salads, etc, throughout the day. This would allow her to take in more calories from the romantic dinner, without worrying.

If this is done well, the caloric intake for Valentine's Day may not be significantly more than what she usually takes in. So in a way she can indulge without feeling too guilty. Guilt is the last feeling you want her to have during your planned romantic experience.

Wine, especially red wine, has been studied extensively. Red wine is high in resveratrol which may offer various health benefits. Studies have shown that moderate consumption of wine may help people to live longer and protect against cancers such as breast cancer. In addition, drinking wine may improve mental health and improve type 2 diabetes. Also, moderate wine consumption can also prevent vision loss. Note that moderate consumption for women is about one glass per day and for men, about two glasses per day.

On the issue of chocolate, this is usually seen as a treat associated with weight gain and poor skin tone. However, the good news is that consuming chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes by almost a third, a study has shown. In addition, chocolate has been show to reduce blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity, therefore reducing the risk of diabetes. Dark chocolate will also help to lower your cravings because the bitter taste signals the body to decrease your appetite. Also, the stearic acid in dark chocolate helps slow digestion to help you feel fuller longer. Chocolate may also keep your brain healthy, your thinking sharp, and also helps to improve memory. However, a point to note is that many of the commercial chocolate options may be high in calories and are usually sweet. So if possible make the healthiest choice for your lady. Hope all goes well.

Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.

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