Food-aceuticals: Drink - and Eat - to Your Health

Is the recipe for better health found in the pantry instead of the medicine cabinet?

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

From omega-3 fatty acids to flavonoids, the ingredients in foods you eat every day may be potent weapons in the battle against disease.

Once-forbidden foods like chocolate, nuts, and wine made headlines in 2004 for their potentially healthy benefits, and new research suggests that the key to avoiding heart disease or cancer may be found in the cupboard rather than the medicine cabinet.

But the secret may not lie in a single wonder food. Instead, researchers say that variety may really be the spice of (long) life. To get your plate in order, WebMD asked the experts for their top picks from this year's newsmakers.

Flavonoids: What Makes Chocolate and Wine Good for You

The discovery of flavonoids and the bevy of heart-healthy benefits they possess has been a boon to wine and chocolate lovers.

The antioxidant-rich compounds found in the seeds and skins of plants, such as grapes, cocoa beans, and citrus fruits, first gained the attention of researchers in the early 1990s as a means of explaining the so-called French Paradox. Researchers proposed then that French people had lower rates of heart attacks because they drank moderate amounts of red wine with their meals.

Since then, more than 300 studies on grape flavonoids have shown that drinking red wine or grape juice may help blunt the artery-clogging effects of a fatty meal and reduce the risk of heart disease over the long-run.