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The following (in quotes) was posted by Dr. Weil, and I thought I would blog about it since it is the holiday season, and we eat more at this time of the year.

"One satisfying way to celebrate nourishing the body is with a glass of red wine and some cheese. The health benefits of red wine are plentiful: it has powerful antioxidant properties that are derived from the red pigments in grape skins (compounds that are members of a family of compounds called proanthocyanidins); it contains tannins that can help reduce the risk of heart attack by hindering the formation of blood clots; and studies have shown that red wine can raise levels of HDL, the protective form of cholesterol.

While I rarely drink red wine myself, I do think it's beneficial for some people. I recommend organic red wine, and limiting your intake to no more than one, at most two, servings per day (if you do not drink alcohol, do not start for health reasons).

Cheese, I do enjoy. While I used to eat cheese sparingly (and with some guilt) because of its fat content and effect on cholesterol levels, research on its health benefits has led me to incorporate more cheese into my diet, as it's a natural source of calcium and protein. Healthy options include organic, natural cheeses such as Emmental (Swiss), Jarlsberg and true Parmesan. Just a small amount of cheese offers a big taste, so a piece or two should be satisfactory."

In addition, wine contains reservatrol. In November 2006 newspaper headlines about a natural gene activating substance that could prolong life appeared in over 500 newspapers around the world. The headlines related to a scientific report showing life enhancing and extending properties of a natural plant compound called resveratrol that is found in red wine.

Additionally, these studies showed that resveratrol could alter metabolism to the point that fat mice given fatty food containing resveratrol did not have any adverse effects from this diet, and, in fact, were healthier than the control mice. The newspaper headlines asked if it is really possible that a pill can prolong life, help maintain weight despite a high fat diet, avert degenerative diseases, and even create the muscles of a champion athlete without training. Animal studies seem to suggest that it is possible that resveratrol can do all of these things, and there is every reason to believe that the same things will also be possible in humans. Could resveratrol provide us with our long sought for Fountain of Youth? 

To read my full blog on wine and anti-aging, click here.

Remember though, both wine and cheese have something called calories, and from what I've read these can cause weight gain, something you do not need over the holidays!



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