Did you know that Valentine’s Day has been observed for celebrating romance since the 15th century? Organic dark chocolate and red wine made from organically grown grapes—these are traditional foods of lovers, shared around the world on Valentine’s Day. They are also the foods of healthy hearts, enjoyed throughout the year. At America’s Best Organics, we remind all valentines that when you give organic, you share earth’s goodness with a gift that promotes healthy people and planet.
That’s because a growing body of research shows that antioxidants in food and wine, particularly those compounds known as flavonoids and polyphenols, have heart-healthy, anti-aging and cholesterol-lowering benefits. And organic foods contain significantly more of these heart-healthy compounds than their conventionally produced counterparts. Research has shown that organic fruits and vegetables are 25 percent to 30 percent higher in antioxidants and other key nutrients as compared to conventionally grown fruits and vegetables—and that’s no different for wines made with organic grapes, or dark chocolate made from organic cacao.
In fact, according to a study conducted by a group of Italian researchers and published in the Journal of Wine Research, organic wines tested were found to have significantly higher antioxidant and resveratrol activity, with total polyphenol levels up to 30 percent higher, compared with conventionally produced table wines. Additionally, by drinking wine made with organically grown grapes, you minimize dietary exposure to toxic, synthetic pesticide residues. According to a study published in 2008 by the European Pesticide Action Network, conventionally produced European wines tested were found to contain anywhere from one to 10 pesticide residues while minimal to no pesticides were detected in the organic wines tested.
Antioxidants such as flavonoids in red wine and dark chocolate and resveratrol in red wine have been found to help protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart, and also help to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, according to research published by the Mayo Clinic and the respected medical journal The Lancet. Resveratrol in red wine is of particular interest to researchers in that it may help prevent arteries from becoming clogged with fatty blockages, and may also have other anti-aging and cancer-fighting properties.
Clogged arteries aren’t romantic but the notion of a healthy heart certainly lights a flame. Among chocolates, dark chocolate in particular has the highest level of cancer-fighting and heart-healthy antioxidants including catechins and polyphenols—up to four times the antioxidant levels found in tea, according to The Lancet. That is welcome news!
Nothing says I love you more completely than giving gifts that are beautiful, delectable and health-promoting. There are some wonderful companies that we work with at America’s Best Organics that are crafting fine, dark chocolates made from Fair Trade and USDA organic cocoa such as Fearless Raw Chocolate, SweetRiot, Theo’s and Chocolove.
Chocolate Decadence by America's Best Organics
While America’s Best Organics doesn’t offer wine, I recommend the delicious wines made by our friends at Bonterra, Frey and LaRocca Vineyards and Organic Vintners. Let’s be inspired while we show love to one another, by remembering that choosing organic is also showing a lot of love for the planet too, because organic farming is better for farm workers and promotes healthy, living soils, and organic crops are grown without the use of toxic, synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones or GMOs. That is sharing earth’s goodness and honoring the many hands that bring health-promoting products for our hearts and lives.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Steve Hoffman, Compass Natural, for research support for this blog.
Seleyn DeYarus is a long-time advocate of the positive impact of healthy lifestyles on people and the environment. Based in Boulder, Colorado, she is majority owner and CEO of Best Organics, Inc., an organic and sustainable brands promotion company and provider of America's Best Organics gourmet gift basket collections. Learn more about Seleyn and find your next best gift at AmericasBestOrganics.com.