Heart Foundation sets the record straight on antioxidants

Posted by Josette Dunn on 14th May 2010

The National Heart Foundation of Australia has released a summary of research on antioxidants which warns that drinking red wine or coffee and eating chocolate to
prevent heart disease will not achieve expected results.

The Heart Foundation reviewed over 100 studies to confirm that eating fruit and vegetables and drinking tea helps lower your risk of heart disease.

The Heart Foundation’s advice to consumers is not to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease by eating chocolate (milk or dark), drinking coffee, red wine or other types of alcoholic drinks, or use antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins E and C.

The Heart Foundation s detailed findings are being circulated to nutritionists, doctors and other health professionals to help them provide accurate advice to their patients.

National Director of Healthy Weight at the Heart Foundation, Ms Susan Anderson said that there was no need to avoid these foods and drinks completely.

Chocolate, coffee and red wine are okay as part of a balanced diet but these findings confirm that if you’re consuming them thinking you’re reducing your risk of heart disease then think again, she said.

The best way to get enough antioxidants is to eat a variety of plant based foods, such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts and seeds every
day. Specifically, the Heart Foundation recommends:

  • Eat at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day.
  • Drink black or green tea, and if you add milk, use reduced, low or no fat milk.
  • Use raw cocoa powder in drinks and cooking as most commercial cocoa and chocolate will be poor sources of antioxidants.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink no more than two standard drinks a day.
  • If you drink coffee, drink less than five cups of paper-filtered, percolated, café style or instant coffee a day.