Top cardiologist gives verdict on chocolate, coffee and wine

As editor of the European Heart Journal for more than a decade, Prof Thomas Lüscher led a team that sifted through 3,200 manuscripts from scientists and doctors every year. Only a fraction – those deemed “truly novel” and backed up with “solid data” – would be selected for publication.

After stepping down from his role in charge of the world’s top cardiovascular medicine journal, Lüscher has given his verdict on one of the most frequently asked heart health research questions: are wine, chocolate and coffee good or bad for you?

…Lüscher, a consultant cardiologist and director of research, education and development at the Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, says the answer is “more complex than a simple yes or no”…Lüscher also cautions that the evidence should be considered “seriously”, given the large numbers of people worldwide that regularly enjoy a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate. There are pros and cons to each of them, he suggests, and these can differ depending on how often and how much of each is consumed, as well as by whom.

“Are wine, chocolate, coffee forbidden joys? Well, wine is truly a joy but at best neutral when consumed in moderation. Chocolate is a joy for our CV [cardiovascular] system, if consumed in dark, bitter form. And coffee? It wakes us up, less so if you drink it regularly, and at that dose of up to four cups a day, might even be protective.”

RTFA. Keep on searching and reading if you think you need to. If you’re like me, you’ve already addressed this question a number of times. My experience has the analysis definitely coming down on the side of coffee and chocolate. Wine, not so much or often.

Over time – and I’ve already used up a whole bunch of that – I find I rarely consume anything alcoholic anymore. No special reason. Tastes change. My wife’s coffee is a delight. Strong and dark, I have four cups in the morning – consistently. I think of it as a minimum; but, rarely exceed that number. Dark, unsweetened chocolate is part of my nutrition set, weekly, if not, daily.

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