More Good News About Red Wine

If you enjoy a nice glass of wine, it gets more exciting every time a new study comes out touting its benefits. Get ready to cheer once again. This time red wine may prove to correct hormonal imbalances.

Red Wine, No Sour Grapes

Besides its deliciousness to so many of our senses, red wine has shown to deliver several positive health benefits. It’s actually the compound found in the grape skins, which is naturally beneficial. It’s called resveratrol.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant. It helps cells in plants, insects, animals, and humans defend against disease.

Women and Wine

In a study just published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the authors wrote that resveratrol intake can help restore estrogen levels.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a significant condition from which many women suffer. In fact, there are currently five to six million women in the US who’ve been stricken with this disease. Too much testosterone is produced, causing a hormonal imbalance, leading to PCOS.

PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women.

In This Study…

Researchers conducted a double-blind test having some of the female participants take resveratrol, while the others were given a placebo. At the end of the experiment, those in the supplement-taking taking group showed to have a 23% percent drop in testosterone levels. (The placebo gals had less than a 3% decrease in testosterone levels.)

What This Means…

As further studies are conducted, it may prove that resveratrol can help moderate estrogen levels and hormone balancing. Hence, it can be used as a treatment for PCOS—and infertility caused by PCOS.

I’ll Drink to That!

Consuming extra red wine won’t necessarily provide you the amount of resveratrol with which researchers are experimenting. (In fact, overconsumption of alcohol can be dangerous or deadly.) However, one glass of red wine per day, can offer benefits far and wide throughout your body.

Many Resveratrol Benefits

Another astounding discovery about resveratrol is that it may help treat diabetes.

Resveratrol:

  • prevents insulin resistance
  • reduces oxidative stress in cells, which prevents premature aging and promotes longevity
  • protects the lining of arteries, improving blood flow
  • supports brain cells, improving mental function
  • prevents cancer cell replication, which can suppress the spread of cancer

Before taking supplements, always read up on them and discuss with your medical advisor. Cheers to the benefits of the adult red juice!

Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder
Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder

Red Wine is Good For You, Isn’t It?

Red wine is good for us, or at least that’s what we tell ourselves after scanning articles which boast its health benefits.  This fuzzy knowledge of the scientific facts, allows us to indulge without guilt.  “Red wine has health benefits”, we whisper to ourselves, therefore I can have my third glass, safe in the understanding its good for me, or is it?

Do we really know the facts when it comes to the health benefits of red wine?

The answer is often mumbled incoherently, “yeah, red wine is good for you heart…. blah, blah, blah”.  One of the most famous papers to date was written by Professor Mukamal, MD, MPH from Harvard Medical School.  Mukamal observed lifestyle and dietary influences in men and women in their fifties, focusing particularly on red wine consumption.  A rough summary of this report suggests that men who drink a maximum of two glasses of red wine (5 ounces per glass), with their evening meal were 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease.  W omen who drink one glass of red per night are 23% less likely to have heart disease.

Are other influencers affecting the scientific benefits of red wine?

A Mediterranean diet is crammed with fruit, vegetables and olive oil, all rich in polyphenols (most notably Resveratrol).  The antioxidant properties of polyphenols protect the body’s tissues, forming barriers against cancers, disease, and inflammation.  Resveratrol has shown preventive effects against high calorie diets in laboratory mice, slowing weight gain.  It is possible that the health statistics of red wine have been influenced by certain diets.

Antioxidants are plentiful in the skin of red grapes and red berried fruits

Grapes like Malbec or Pinot Noir, grown in the cooler climates of France, have a higher density of resveratrol, which may explain the famous terminology, “French Paradox.”  This irony refers to the traditional high-fat French diet, accompanied by L’Art de Vivre (the art of living with a glass of red in your hand).  Emphasizing this fact, the French have the lowest heart disease rates in the western world, though this may be changing with the introduction of fast/convenience food, which is altering the traditional French diet.  With all the scientific health research behind red wine, scientists are vague on the exact facts. Using words like ‘may’ or ‘suggests’ does not fully support the scientific research.

QQC can help reap the benefits of red wine

  • Quality: choose a wine from small producers, who use fewer pesticides, like a French biodynamic or organic red wine.
  • Quantity: ditch the weekend binge drinking, which can higher the risk of cancer, in favor of a small glass (or 2) of quality red with your evening meal.
  • Common Sense: too much of a good thing, becomes bad, so eat fruit and vegetables and have an active lifestyle.

Next time you justify downing more than a few glasses, don’t use health benefits and science as an excuse to drink more.  Use common sense to drink just the right amount and raise a glass for good health.

For more tips on overall health improvement, check out GetThrive.com!

 

Resources

French Paradox

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1768013/

Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D.

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arcr352/250-259.htm

Organic and Biodynamic wine

http://www.drinkmemag.com/unearthing-the-organic-biodynamic-world-of-bordeaux/

What Foods Do Nutritionists Think are Healthy?

Ask the Nutritionists

Hundreds of nutritionists as well as 2,000 other Americans were polled about which foods they think are healthy. The results showed some shared beliefs but also some huge differences in perception of healthy foods.

Who Knows What?

The New York Times recently conducted its own study on the perception of healthy foods. The purpose was to get a consensus of which foods nutritionists and “regular folk” regard as healthy. For the study, the NY Times enlisted a consult group, who in turn polled 2,000 Americans. The participants were asked to rate 52 common foods in order from unhealthy to healthy. Additionally, over 600 nutritionists from the American Society for Nutrition were asked to do the same.

The results showed how nutritionists’ belief in the healthiness of certain foods varied from what the average American believes. Even some of the nutritionists, however, were split on particular foods. The consensus on butter, for example, was varied for everyone polled. The same mixed feelings occurred on the topic of whole milk and red meat.

The mixed reviews on these three specific foods point out that their nutritional value must be inconclusive. A prominent nutritionist Dariush Mozaffarian explains, “…we only know about 40 or 50 percent of what we need to know about nutrition.”

What Everyone Thinks is Good

The Americans surveyed agreed with the nutritionists on the healthfulness of several common foods. Oranges, apples, and avocados ranked among the highest in goodness. Spinach, kale, olive oil, and almonds were top choices too. Turkey and chicken made the highs ranks as well.

What Everyone Thinks is Bad

Regular soda, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream were deemed the unhealthiest by everyone polled. Bacon, white bread, diet soda, and beer were just a couple of percentage points higher on the list, but still extremely low in good nutrition. On a scale from zero to 100 percent, hamburgers ranked at only 30% healthy for all those surveyed.

Here’s Where We Can Learn

Assuming these 600-plus nutritionists understand good food value, here’s information from which we can learn. The study points out that granola bars are deemed healthy by fewer than 30% of the experts. About 70% of the public, however, believed the bars to be healthy. Here’s the difference. The nutritionists know how much added sugars are in the popular food. We may not know because labels can misrepresent.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently agreed to review its labeling standards. Some foods we think are healthy simply are not. And, unfortunately, we have been misguided for years.

The nutritionists expressed that sushi, wine, shrimp, hummus, tofu, and quinoa are all excellent. The public didn’t seem aware of the high levels of nutritional value in these foods. Perhaps it’s because they are not “common”—yet. The other take away from this study is that most everyone agreed that “no special rules or restrictions” comprised the best diet. Balance and moderation are key.

For other articles on diet and nutrition, check out www.GetThrive.com

 

Sure Red Wine Has Benefits, but Wait, White Wine and Champagne are Healthy Too?

Red wine has gotten a wonderful reputation health-wise, which rivals its savory flavors and soothing effects. But its sibling, white wine, and rich uncle, champagne, have been slightly overlooked since red wine has taken the spotlight. As it turns out, the white variation and the bubbly offer health advantages as well.

LDL cholesterol levels lower with consumption of red wine. This is good because lower LDL, less of it found in arteries to form plaque. Plaque hardens arteries, blood pressure rises, and the risk of heart attack increases.

Another beneficial element derived from the red grape is polyphenols. These antioxidants help reduce formation of unwanted blood clots and keep blood flowing through vessels smoothly. Resveratrol, found in red grape skins, also helps moderate blood pressure and can lower total cholesterol.

White wine may not have as many benefits as red because the skins are removed before processing. However, the white grape still contains nutrients and antioxidants. White wine hasn’t been studied as much as its rosy sibling even though it’s full of the same plant flavonoids, which protect cells. Researchers at the University of Barcelona claim that white wine may be higher in antioxidants and also offers stronger anti-aging effects.

Researchers reported that both red and white wine improved cholesterol levels if the drinker was exercising two or more times per week. Also both reds and whites may be able to help diabetics regulate their blood sugar. They each seem to improve glucose control.

Another group out of the University at Buffalo School of medicine found that white wine improves lung health. In 2010, researchers from the University of Wisconsin discovered that white wine protected cells from breast cancer as well as red wine did. With all of this good news about reds and whites, we must presume that champagne must offer healthy benefit, too!

Champagne is a sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wines are champagne. Champagne is a geographic region of France. There are six specific types of grapes from that area and the wine is made through a specific production process called “methode champenoise.” The guidelines for making the bubbly are very strict, one being that the grapes must be handpicked and another that the stems are not removed during filtering.

One advantage researchers discovered during testing champagne-consumers was that there was a significant boost to spatial memory after having a glass. They added that those with dementia had a better ability to recognize their surroundings (and their home) after indulging in a bit of champagne. In fact, the researchers suggest drinking three glasses a week for maximum benefit. As with any alcoholic beverage moderation is key.

 

 

Best Party Drinks for Health and Weight Watching

Once the weekend rolls around, those of us who enjoy a cocktail, really look forward to a good drink. Holiday time offers parties, rich foods, and often high-calorie beverages. Here are some tips for alcoholic and virgin drinks when you want to partake, but you don’t want to bust your diet.

Oldies But Not Such Goodies

Drinks like Egg Nog, Pina Coladas, and Daiquiris are delicious and satisfying (momentarily) but enormously high in empty calories. Cream, sweetened syrups, and cocktails with sugar around the rim of the glass can be festive but fatal to a healthy diet.

Enjoying the Standards

Wine and beer don’t need to bust your caloric budget. You can partake in moderation without too much regret. Of course, the sugar content in both will come back to bite your metabolism in the butt, but if you want to have one drink, go for it.

A “light” alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer can set you back a mere 95 calories. A heartier brew, perhaps from a local source or an exotic import, may hover somewhere between 150-250 calories per 12-ounce glass. If you love a good beer, that one serving may be well worth trading for that slice of Brie cheese.

Red and white wine, per 5-ounce serving, can be 100-150 calories. It’s tougher to measure wine than beer or spirits because it’s usually free-poured. Sometimes in restaurants, they’ll offer a four- or five-ounce carafe, but otherwise, the size of the glass may throw off the amount. So word to the wine-drinking wise.

For the benefits of red and white wines (and champagne), click here.

Spirits Galore!

Most alcohol contains about seven calories per gram. Hard liquors (tequila, vodka, rum, scotch, brandy, gin, etc.) run about 100 calories a shot. So if you drink a straight-up shot, you’re looking at a 100-cal deficit.

That’s not too bad, it’s just that once that shot’s down the hatch, it’s over. So, it makes sense to add a mixer. Mixers are where you can get into trouble. For example, fizzy waters can be awesome or abominable for your diet.

Just because it says it’s water and it’s clear, doesn’t mean tonic water has zero anything. In fact, one 12-ounce serving can be at least 100 calories, have over 30 grams of sugar, and be very high in sodium. Club soda has fewer calories, but often sodium is added and so are minerals to enhance flavor. Seltzer water is your best bet.

Soda is bad, period—alone or with a shot of a spirit. Mixing with a diet soda, may upfront be fewer calories, but it’s still not a great choice. Most diet sodas contain aspartame or Splenda, which are harmful chemicals that, ultimately, make you gain weight. Best to just stay away from sugary or artificially sweetened soda altogether.

Here’s Your Drink Ticket

If you’re opting out of wine or beer, here are some health and diet conscious ideas for cocktails:

-Try infusing natural ingredients into vodka or gin. You can make your own “flavored” alcohol without adding sugar or calories. A day, a week, or even two, place your desired “twist” into the bottle with the spirit. Some yummy options are: fresh lemon, raspberry, or rosemary. Keep the bottle in the fridge and then strain the pulp or seeds with a cheesecloth when ready to drink.

-Buy a flavored alcohol. Just note that many of them contain less alcohol content per ounce than unflavored spirits. Add seltzer water as a mixer. It has no calories or added sugar or sodium. Then garnish with a slice of fruit.

-Use a pure spirit and then mix with a store-bought flavored seltzer. (A brand like LaCroix has no added sodium, sugar, or artificial ingredients. They offer fruit flavored fizzy water made from the oils extracted from the particular fruit.)

-Use Kombucha as a mixer. Get your probiotic fill while catching a buzz. Very little sugar content and all natural.

-Use fresh ingredients for garnish and mixers. Lime, lemon, and mint are great party pleasers. Garnish: celery sticks, carrots (high in fiber), and olives are high in antioxidants and help lower cholesterol (good fat)

Adding a healthy garnish will keep you from eating a hunk of bread with your cocktail. Also, remember to sip water in between sips of your party drink. It will make it last longer, keep you hydrated, and reduce chances of next-day regret.

And no matter if you’re watching your weight, drinking moderately, or just tasting—never drink alcohol and drive. Just a friendly reminder… Enjoy a wonderful holiday season and keep the good spirit flowing!