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Showing posts from 2014

A glass of red wine is worth an hour of exercise. Red wine compound resveratrol may negate health benefits of exercise. Or both. Or neither.

Once again we have dueling headlines about the effects of red wine and resveratrol: Does it enhance the effects of exercise or negate them? A study from the University of Alberta in Canada found that resveratrol supplementation in animals improved muscle and heart functions in the same way as an hour of exercise would, leading the study’s lead author Jason Dyck to postulate that “We could conceivably create an improved exercise performance in a pill." Supplement marketers already label resveratrol as an “exercise mimic,” while bloggers and wine lovers conclude that a glass of red wine would therefore do the same. Meanwhile, at Queen’s University a few provinces over in Ontario, researchers were finding that resveratrol supplementation blunted the benefits of high-intensity interval exercise, a seemingly opposite effect. In a four-week placebo-controlled clinical trial, the data “clearly demonstrates that RSV supplementation doesn't augment training, but may impair the affect i…

Don’t get soaked: The truth about red wine and resveratrol

Much has been made recently about pro basketballer Amar’e Stoudemire’s “vinotherapy” rehab program, which involves soaking in red wine baths. I tried it myself a few years ago at the Caudalie spa in Bordeaux, and while it was a fabulous experience I would put it more into the pampering category than physical rehab. But the practice does raise a lot of questions, and as with so many issues about wine and health there is a kernel of truth shrouded by a layer of hype.
For deep healing to happen, something would have to be absorbed from the wine in significant enough amounts to have an effect, and there is scant evidence that this occurs. A more realistic concept is rejuvenation of the skin, which can absorb certain compounds found in wine. Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, has received much attention both as a supplement and a skin care product. But just as there is not enough resveratrol in wine to explain wine’s health benefits alone, there isn’t enough in baths either.
Credit goes…

Ten things your doctor won’t tell you about wine and health

A recent column in MarketWatch called “10 things your winemaker won’t tell you” has provoked considerable controversy, and the way I see it the statements about wine and health are particularly off base. So my response is a list of what your doctor probably won’t tell you; part of this will refute the MarketWatch piece, part of it will get at the misconceptions that underlie the problem. Author Catey Hill does make some interesting and valid points, but the question of healthy drinking is just too big to be distilled into a paragraph or two. I do know this though: it isn’t the winemaker’s job to tell you about its health benefits, and in fact the feds take a pretty dim view of that idea.
       1.Hill states “Scan any health website these days and you’re likely to find at least one article touting the health benefits of wine, among them heart health and longevity—all the more so since the recent discovery of the antioxidant resveratrol in red wine. But some studies suggest there are m…

Yes Red Wine is Still Good for You

Recent reports that “red wine is not great for health after all” and that “no amount of alcohol is safe” are just plain wrong. This type of misguided reporting and misinterpretation of scientific studies is one of the reasons for my book Age Gets Better with Wine. How is it that the story is still so confused? Kicking off the latest round of hype was a report issued bythe World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Noting that the risk is dose-dependent, meaning that heavy drinking has a stronger correlation with some types of cancer, the authors of the report concluded that even moderate drinking carries some degree of risk. This was followed by release of a study in Italy that looked at dietary levels of resveratrol and incidence of diseases of aging. Since the most well-known source of resveratrol is red wine, the lack of a benefit from higher resveratrol consumption was reported as casting doubt on the benefits of red wine. So here we go again: It is …

Wine and chocolate lower diabetes risk

A perennial topic around Valentine’s Day is the health benefits of wine and chocolate, and this year we have new evidence that they may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Credit is given to high levels of anthocyanins, nutritional antioxidants found in red wine, berries, and of course dark chocolate. Anthocyanins are the pigments that give these foods their color, unlike resveratrol which also comes from the skins of wine grapes.
The study, from the University of East Anglia and Kings College London, consisted of a food questionnaire of 2000 women. Those with the highest intake of anthocyanin-rich foods had lower insulin resistance – a marker for type 2 diabetes - and better blood glucose regulation. But the researchers took it a step further, and documented that this group also had lower levels of markers of inflammation, believed to be associated with a wide range of age-related diseases including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. Sweet news for your sweetheart indeed.
As…