Wine and chocolate: To your health? So says JU Associate Professor of Exercise Science Heather Hausenblas


Red red wine you make me feel so fine – UB40

Coconut fudge really blows down those blues – The Beatles

By Phillip Milano

Turns out there really are some health benefits to chocolate and the red grape, and JU Associate Professor of Exercise Science Heather Hausenblas has been making the media rounds of late with the good news.

“There are numerous causes of unhealthy aging, including stress, inadequate sleep, nutritional deficiencies and a diet high in processed foods and lack of physical activity,” she said. “Research is continually finding that specific polyphenols found in red wine and dark chocolate have considerable potential to improve health and prevent chronic disease in humans.”

According to Hausenblas, the cocoa flavanols found in chocolate and the resveratrol found in red wine that produce powerful antioxidant effects are available now through new delivery systems in supplements.

“They provide all the flavanols and resveratrol at therapeutic levels, but without the sugar, fat and calories of eating chocolate and drinking red wine,” she noted.

Hausenblas, a world-renowned physical activity and healthy aging expert, researcher and author, is director of the exercise psychology laboratory at the University of Florida and is at JU as an associate professor. She’s co-written four scientific books and published more than 80 scientific journal articles. 

Some recent appearances include:

  • A radio interview for July 9, in which she noted that studies show cocoa beans’ flavonoids have medically beneficial antioxidant properties, can help the aging process and aid our skin as we deal with the sun’s dangerous rays.
  • An article by McClatchy News Service July 13, in which Hausenblas also discusses how resveratrol – found in large amounts in red wine – and chocolate have been found to reduce cardiac risk factors.
  • A discussion July 16 on Progressive Radio Network’s “Natural Nurse and Dr. Z” radio show, in which she touted the health benefits of cocoa and of exercise as well.

Alas, as Hausenblas noted, it’s the less-sweet dark chocolate, not milk chocolate, that offers more of cocoa’s plusses, and she recommends cocoa flavanol pill supplements as the best way to get chocolate’s benefits. 

To hear the Wellness Times interview, visit

For the McClatchy article in The Orange County Register, see

Listen to The Natural Nurse and Dr. Z interview at

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