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Should I consume chocolate and wine because of their antioxidants?

If you enjoy the odd piece of chocolate or an occasional glass of wine, then think of the antioxidants and the other beneficial components they contain as a bonus to your health. If you're not into chocolate or wine, however, there's no need to make a point of consuming them in order to get any reported health benefits. Chocolate and wine are but two of thousands of different foods that contain antioxidants. When you eat a wide variety of foods, you get a wide range of antioxidants and plenty of other goodies into your body - regardless of whether you consume chocolate and wine.

What our readers say...

"Hi Dr Amanda, I recently found a copy of your book 'Don't Go hungry For Life'. I had been doing well in my weight loss recently, & just like to keep an eye on the various theories etc from time to time. I had gained a lot of weight having my 5 children over 8 years (plus 4 miscarriages), & in the past, each time I had tried to lose weight...I got pregnant again! I am 157cms tall, & when I was younger, & dancing, right up to my mid-20s, I was generally around 50-55 kgs. Once I started having kids, I would go all the way up to 90+kgs. Anyway, February last year (2010), at 83 kgs, I got serious, started reading every idea, wacky or plausible, trying things on for size, so to speak. If something worked, & wasn't too painful, I'd keep it until I hit a plateau, then I'd change something - anything. I kept a written record of food, hunger, my cycle etc, & anything else I thought relevant. I was weighing myself very frequently as I hadn't bothered at all before. I had been suffering with the usual things that go with being heavy - lethargy, tiredness, mild depression, unexplained skin rashes at times. So it wasn't just my weight I was trying to fix. So, by June last year, I had lost a few kilos, felt a bit better, but wasn't going forward as well as I wanted. I joined an online challenge to give me a boost, & kept trying different theories. So, while I didn't 'yoyo' through this, I did try cutting out whole food groups, counting calories, sticking to set limits per day. Anything that I couldn't see myself holding onto long term I abandoned. I ended up winning third place on the online challenge - a nice bonus - & by the end of last month I had lost a total of 17 kilos in as many months. A great result, but not at my goal yet. So when I picked out your book, & another which kind of came close to your approach, but not quite as committed, I was pleasantly surprised to see on the pages, the science behind what I had arrived at. Not only that, it gave me incentive to get back to the written record, which I had stopped, & the clues regarding hunger & satiety as scales to learn helped tweak my approach, so that now, 3 weeks since I started reading, I have doubled my weight-loss rate, from an average of 1 kilo a month, to 1.5 in those 3 weeks! The exercise portion of your approach has been taken care of by the fact that last November, I started back in the workforce, after 15 years at home, home-schooling our family. I now work in a busy supermarket, where just getting to the office from my department (I counted) takes at least 120 steps, plus stairs. I do this trip & back at least 5 times every day, as well as heavy lifting of stock etc & general walking about the store. So I wanted to thank you for sharing your research & story, I tend to find if I understand the 'why' of something, I remember it better. Your book has definitely explained why what works, does, & why what didn't, doesn't! Have a great year. "

- Mari, New Zealand