A proper diet is one of the best ways to combat heart disease. High fiber, high protein, and low sodium foods – including whole brain breads, fruit, vegetables and fish – help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.

But since it’s Valentine’s Day, you might want to indulge in a glass of red wine and eat some chocolate. Go for it – in moderation.

According to Emory Healthcare, scientists have found that there are substances in some types of chocolate that may be beneficial to a healthy heart. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate have similar properties. They contain a unique kind of saturated fat – stearic acid – which doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels.

Dark chocolate is also a rich source of substances called antioxidants that are helpful in combating heart disease and other health problems.

The key to not eating too much chocolate is to understand portion control. For example, consider having a few chocolate kisses, instead of an entire chocolate candy bar – one typical chocolate kiss has only 26 calories and one gram of saturated fat.

Red wine has long been thought to be good for the ticker as well. According to The Mayo Clinci, studies suggest antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, seem to have a lower risk of heart disease. The key is to drink in moderation, which means two drinks a day for men and one for women.

– Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.