Can Dark Chocolate and Red Wine Prevent Dementia?

January 6, 2014

Latest Class in Mercy St. Francis Hospital’s

“Healthy Goals” Series

Yes, it’s true: chocolate and wine can be beneficial to your health. But before you think about indulging, how about chewing on the facts?

“Antioxidants in dark chocolate and wine play a big role in getting oxygen to the brain, and can keep dementia at bay,” said Tracy Asher, registered nurse and house supervisor at Mercy St. Francis Hospital. “But moderation is key, and you’re going to need to counteract those ingredients with other, healthier options.”

Finding that balance, and preventing dementia, will be the focus of the latest course in Mercy St. Francis Hospital’s “Setting Goals for Healthy Living” series. The free class on Monday, Jan. 20, will be targeted to older adults, as well as those with heart problems or diabetes.

“Of course, there are risk factors we can’t do a lot about, like heredity, but we can help people maintain healthy blood pressure and prevent damage to blood vessels in the brain,” added Asher. “We’ll also talk about increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood sugar.”

And while wine won’t exactly be on the menu, there will be grapes and snacks available to attendees. “Obviously not everyone is encouraged to drink alcohol,” said Asher. “You can get the same nutrition from grapes and grape juice. The darker, the healthier.”

The free, hour-long class will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 20 in the dining room at Mercy St. Francis Hospital, located at 100 W. US Highway 60. No registration is required; call (417) 934-7000 for more information. In the event of bad weather, the class will be postponed to Jan. 27.