Healthy Foods & Eating

A Review of Healthy Foods and Levels of Eating

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Can eating chocolate improve your health? Cranberry juice? This knol will assist you finding foods that will improve your health. Also, we will discuss the benefits of not eating much food (calorie restriction) and cutting down on salt.

Low Glycemic Index Foods

It is best to eat foods that do not overshock your system with simple sugars, and spike your insulin. This hormone release has been associated with increased cancer risks. Also diabetes. This is measured by what is called the glycemic index:

Glycemic Index (GI) is a number value that tells us how quickly the carbohydrate in a certain food will raise blood sugar in the body. (Caring for Cancer.)

For example, while fruit juice is good for you, having more than 4 ounces a day can be an excessive shock to your system.
There is a caution if you use the numbers without regard to considering portion sizes:

A SERVING of carrots has a glycemic load of 5.2. The glycemic load for a serving of pasta (1 cup) is very high at 28 (1). In order to have the same glycemic load from carrots, you would have to eat nearly TWO pounds of them! This shows how glycemic index can be misleading. Just because a food has a high glycemic index, does NOT mean it will raise blood sugar quickly, when eaten in a normal serving size! (Caring for Cancer.)

The risks from cancer if you eat a high gylcemic index diet are well-established:

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load are important because research studies tell us that eating higher glycemic index foods, eating a higher glycemic load diet, and eating more simple sugar may increase risk of several types of cancer including cancers of the breast, colon & rectum, endometrium (uterus), lung, ovary, pancreas and upper aero-digestive tract (Caring for Cancer – see notes 2-10 — professional articles documenting association.)

The glycemic index foundation at this webpage says a low GI diet has these benefits:
  • Low GI diets help people lose and manage weight
  • Low GI diets increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin
  • Low GI carbs improve diabetes management
  • Low GI carbs reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Low GI carbs improve blood cholesterol levels
  • Low GI carbs can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
  • Low GI carbs reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
  • Low GI carbs prolong physical endurance
  • High GI carbs help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise
Here is a Glycemic Index in various categories of food: http://www.lowglycemicdiet.com/gifoodlist.html
The general rules according to the glycemic index foundation is:
  • Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
  • Use breads with wholegrains, stone-ground flour, sour dough
  • Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
  • Enjoy all other types of fruit and vegetables
  • Use Basmati or Doongara rice
  • Enjoy pasta, noodles, quinoa
  • Eat plenty of salad vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing.
You can look up the GI number on your favorite foods at this database link.
For example, I put in a hamburger. I got information I don’t like to hear:
 This is in the moderate zone but almost in the high range which begins at 70.
It is interesting that some foods are so low or have no carbs they are not even on the list. Here is a list, mentioned in a Q and A:

Why doesn’t the GI of beef, chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, many fruits (including berries) and vegetables, wine, beer and spirits appear on the GI database?

These foods contain no carbohydrate, or so little that their GI cannot be tested according to the standard methodology. Bear in mind that the GI is a measure of carbohydrate quality. Essentially, these types of foods, eaten alone, won’t have much effect on your blood glucose levels.

Why Is Wine Not On The List

 A 5-ounce glass of wine typically contains 110 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrates, and about 13 grams of alcohol (which accounts for 91 of the calories)….Alcoholic beverages have calories because alcohol has a lot of calories — not because of carbs.  (Berkeley Wellness Letter Aug 2004 quoted at this webpage.)


This sounds odd for wine. So I did a little research. It has a high GI but an almost zero Glycemic Load. I assume for that reason it is not in this database. Here is an article entitled “On The Glycemic Index Wine Shows No Load Vaue.” Here it explains:

One thing to consider though is that according to the glycemic index wine may appear high on the ranking, but its glycemic load is zero. 

Almost as important to its rating on the glycemic index wine has shown to rank considerably low on the glycemic load. On the glycemic index wine shows an index of zero and with a glycemic load of zero would almost seem one of the perfect items for a glycemic index diet. However, the role of alcohol may make any type of spirit have the opposite effect when considering a diet for weight loss. 
Many alcoholic beverage, when consumed straight have very few calories and the a low glycemic index wine may seem good as it has no carbohydrate value, considering it is made with a considerable amount of sugar.

Likewise, What Health says:

The low carbohydrate content of alcoholic drinks makes it impossible to test an alcoholic drinks glycemic index as testing the glycemic index involves giving subjects food items with 25g or 50g of carbohydrate.

Many alcoholic drinks have virtually no carbohydrate value and to achieve the 25 g for testing, large volumes would need to be consumed making glycemic index measurement impractical.

Glycemic Index Of Wine

Most wines, including red and white, contain almost no carbohydrate content so testing the glycemic index is not possible.

But here is the puzzle — if you simply looked up grapes in the Glycemic Index, they are fairly high:
The answer is that fermentation reduces the GI of food. This actually leads to a surprising fact—

How This Teaches You Can Lower The GI Index of Any Meal With A Salad 

This recommends using wine vinegars on salads before a meal because this will lower your blood glucose levels: “The best types to use are red or white wine vinegars.” (Mendosa: “Acidic Foods, A Way To Control Blood Glucose.”) “Lemon juice is just as powerful as vinegar, Jennie Brand-Miller says. Lime juice is likely to work just as well.” Id.

In one study the glucose response with vinegar was 31 percent lower than without it. In another study vinegar significantly reduced the glycemic index of a starchy meal from 100 to 64 (where white bread = 100). (Id.)

Thus, Mendosa concludes: “Your best bet is to include a side salad with an olive oil and vinegar or lemon dressing in as many meals as possible. Your body will thank you.” Id. 
Hence, the importance of a small dinner salad prior to a meal is that it lowers the GI of the food you are eating, making it healthier for you.
Also, any fermented product, like yogurt or wine (from which wine vinegar is made), thus if taken with a meal, should lower its glycemic index due to the fermentation properties of the fermented product, e.g., wine. However, I have not found yet any confirmation of this. However, it is probably better to have wine apart from meals because alcohol interferes with the absorption of Vitamin B. See “Red Wine” in alphabetical order below.

For further information, see Brand-Miller, Jennie, Kaye Foster-Powell, and David Mendosa. “What is the advantage of vinegar, lemon juice, and sourdough bread?” in What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up…and Down? (New York: Marlowe & Company, 2003) at 141-42.

Also note this statement in “Vinegar” from Wikipedia:

Prior to hypoglycemic agents, diabetics used vinegar teas to control their symptoms.[16] Small amounts of vinegar (approximately 20 ml or two tablespoons of domestic vinegar) added to food, or taken along with a meal, have been shown by a number of medical trials to reduce the glycemic index of carbohydrate food for people with and without diabetes.[18][19][20] This also has been expressed as lower glycemic index ratings in the region of 30%.[21][22]…Multiple trials indicate that taking vinegar with food increases satiety (the feeling of fullness) and so, reduces the amount of food consumed.

After Excercise High GI Foods Are Good

The CoryHolly Institute reminds us there are times we need high GI foods — after a workout or strenuous activity to replenish our stores for energy: 

After a workout in the gym, when your metabolic window is wide open and glycogen stores are depleted, indulge yourself with a delicious smoothie blended with carbs and protein. Mix 50 – 100 grams of medium to high glycemic carbs with up to 25% of your total daily requirement of high-quality protein. Use 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of your weight as a general rule. I use mango, berries, banana, raw honey and dates. I also add creatine, ribose, glutamine, calcium ascorbate and liquid EFAs. This approach will encourage glycogen restoration much faster than eating steak and eggs or a tuna salad sandwich. It promotes quick recovery, suppresses cortisol activity and enhances the metabolic function and sensitivity of insulin, IGF-1, testosterone and human growth hormone. 

Sports research scientists at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra showed that high GI foods definitely result in faster replenishment of glycogen back into fatigued muscles. High glycemic carbs taken immediately after training also restores hepatic glycogen required to fuel and protect the liver.  

Chocolate

Molecule for molecule, the anti-oxidants in chocolate are more potent than vitamin C. (Joe Vinson, chemist, 2007.)  “High in potassium and magnesium, chocolate also provides us with several vitamins – including B1, B2, D, and E.” (“Health Benefits of Chocolate,” About.com.)

Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about threefold compared to those who never touch the stuff.  Smaller quantities confer less protection, but are still better than none, according to the study, which appears in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine. (“Heart Disease, Chocolate, and Magnesium,” http://www.healthtruthrevealed.com/articles/11275323808/article)

The medical journal for the American Heart Association, created a stir when it reported a study of 22 heart transplant patients who were given a dose of dark chocolate or fake chocolate. Just two hours after eating the real thing, patients had measurable improvements in blood flow and vascular function and less clotting, compared to placebo chocolate eaters, who experienced no change.  Id.

Dark chocolate also has epicatechin. John Hopkins confirmed in mice that this prevents/minimizes brain damage when a stroke is induced in the mice. (“How Dark Chocolate Protects the Brain,” May 6, 2010.)

Cinammon 

I add 1 teaspoon to my morning oatmeal. Here is why — it had 1 gram of fiber too:

A study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003 looked at 60 men and women with Type 2 diabetes who were taking diabetes pills. The participants took either 1, 3, or 6 grams of cassia cinnamon or a placebo, in capsule form, for 40 days. After this time, blood glucose levels dropped between 18% and 29% in all three groups that received cinnamon. However, only the participants who had taken the smallest amount of cinnamon (1 gram) continued to have improved blood glucose levels 20 days after they stopped taking it, for reasons the researchers didn’t quite understand.

In the study, cinnamon also helped lower triglycerides (a blood lipid) and LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels. The benefits continued after 60 days, 20 days after participants had stopped taking cinnamon. No significant changes in blood glucose or blood lipid levels occurred in the placebo group. (Amy Campbell, “Can Cinammon Control Your Diabetes,” Diabetes Self-Management (2006).)

The fact it lowers blood glucose will help you fight obesity: “It is cinnamon’s effect on blood sugar that makes it a potential help in the war against obesity, insulin resistance, sometimes known as “prediabetes,” and the “Metabolic Syndrome.” (“Cinnamon: Help for Insulin Resistance and Weight Loss,” About.com (Feb. 24, 2006).
Interestingly, cinnamon has significant mineral properties in 2 teaspoons yet 11.84 calories:
1. manganese .76 mg
2. dietary fiber 2.8 gms
3. iron 1.72 mg
4. calcium 55.65 mg. (“Health Benefits,”)
It is a natural vitamin pill without the high expense.
“In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.” (“Health Benefits.”)
However, there does appear to be a scam claim that arthritis can be cured by cinnamon. Here is how it goes:
ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured.
In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week out of the 200 people so treated practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain. (“Health Benefits.”)

However, Pain Health News claims this is untrue, and the same claim is repeated form site to site with no basis in fact.

On the more credible side, Ehow has a similar story that articulates more facts that do suggest a pain-fighting function to cinnamon:
Arthritis Pain Fighter
Taken in regular doses, cinnamon tea may help to reduce inflammation from arthritis. Cinnamon contains cinnaldehyde, an anti-clumping and anti-coagulant that can help keep circulation going to reduce swelling. According to Eat This!, “In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.” The tea may also be mixed with honey to create a paste that you can rub on swollen, sore joints. (“Benefits of Cinnamon Tea,” Ehow.)
I can only wonder if there is some truth in this. I will keep you posted.

Cranberry Juice

Diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and certain dementia are linked to oxidants in our bodies. Janet Roloff at Science News explained that fruits have more anti-oxidants than vegetables, and cranberries lead among fruits:

the Scranton team surveyed the antioxidant potential of several fruits and vegetables. Overall, fruits surpassed the veggies, “and cranberries had more antioxidants than any other fruit,” Vinson observes. Several of cranberry’s polyphenol antioxidants are procyanidins, the same family of pigments that make cherries red.[1]

The lesson of recent studies on cranberry juice is that even when sugared to avoid its tart taste, its anti-oxidant effect increases good HDL cholestoral. It has no impact on bad LDL. (Tests showed the sugar portion is pro-oxidant if taken alone, and thus is harmful. Yet, combined in cranberry juice, and the effect is still anti-oxidant.) At 3 glasses a day of sugared cranberry juice (27% true cranberry juice) in month three of a test, the blood of test subjects was increased in good HDL by 10%. “Epidemiological studies by others have correlated HDL-cholesterol increases of this magnitude with about a 40 percent drop in heart-disease risk, Vinson notes.”[1]

Interestingly, the regimen of 1 drink per day in month 1, to two in month 2, and 3 in month three had a correlated impact: “Compared with the before-juice measurements, concentrations of oxidation products in the volunteers’ blood was 15 percent lower after the first month of the trial and about 40 percent lower by the close of the third month.”[1]

Calorie Restriction – Be Hungry!

The 60 Minutes program in 2009 investigated the recent studies that confirm hunger triggers a survival gene to become active, and this prolongs life in all life forms, from worms to monkees:

Everyone from plastic surgeons to your friendly snake oil salesman have been promising a ticket to eternal youth for some time, so the prospect of a prescription pill based on red wine that could trigger a longevity gene sounds too good to be true. And yet scientists have actually known for years of one surefire of doing that: stay hungry.

“Eating a lot of food turns that off. Dieting, extreme dieting turns it on,” Sinclair says.

In one experiment, a group of rhesus monkeys is on a major diet. For nearly two decades they have been taking in a good 30 percent fewer calories than their well-fed brothers and sisters.

They are the centerpiece of a National Institutes of Health study at the University of Wisconsin on whether or not CR- calorie restriction – makes them healthier and extends their lives. To maintain their sterile environment, the 60 Minutes team had to suit up to visit them with Ricki Colman, the “project leader.”

The control animals are nearing the end of a typical monkey lifespan, about 27 years, and major differences in their overall health are becoming clear. The skinny monkeys actually look younger, their coats are shinier, and fewer have arthritis.

And the chunky monkeys? Many have diabetes, and a significantly higher number have cancer and heart disease.

Pound for pound, Colman says the lighter monkeys do better.

Cherry Juice (Tart)

Tart Cherry Juice contains melatonin, and is likely better than pill form of melatonin. It has been correlated with helping reduce insomnia symptoms, and improving the sleep-wake cycle.
“In an article form July 2010 entitled “Tart Cherry Juice Cures Insomnia,” it explains a recent University study that confirms such claims. We read:
The adults drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice beverage (CheriBundi http://www.cheribundi.com) in the morning and evening for 2 weeks, and a comparable matched juice drink, with no tart cherry juice, for another 2 week period. 
There were significant reductions in reported insomnia severity and the adults saved about 17 minutes of wake time after going to sleep, on average, when drinking cherry juice daily, compared to when they were drinking the juice drink. 
The researchers suspect tart cherries’ natural benefits could be due in part to their relatively high content of melatonin – a natural antioxidant in cherries with established ability to help moderate the body’s sleep-wake cycle. 
Produced naturally by the body in small amounts, melatonin plays a role in inducing sleepiness at night and wakefulness during the day. 
Russel J. Reiter, a biomedical scientist at the University of Texas Health Science Center and one of the world’s leading authorities on melatonin, says while melatonin supplement pills have been heavily promoted as a sleep aid, foods such as cherries – available year-round as dried, frozen and juice – may be a better alternative for boosting the body’s own supply of melatonin.”

Coffee?

Some aspects of coffee has been found beneficial on the risk of pancreative cancer, etc. However, it has negatives too:

It has an acidic effect and that naturally causes bowels to move irregularly and triggers constipation symptoms. Though it deceitfully looks like a laxative, it has the tendency to do just the opposite. It is the best known irritant of the gastrointestinal tract and naturally once coffee is ingested it starts its role of irritating the tract and causing constipation problems. (“Role of Coffee in Constipation Troubles,” ezine.)

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium assists you keeping your stool passing properly and regularly.

Chocolate “is highest in magnesium of all foods.” (Nan Fuchs, Ph.D.) “There is a theraputic 168 mgs of magnesium in one serving or raw dark cacao (chocolate ). It is my opinion that this makes raw chocolate a superfood.” “The Magnesium ,chocolate Connection” (March 28, 2008).

Similarly, buckweat flour has 301 mg of magnesium per cup.  Nuts are between 132-156 mg per ounce. Beans are 107-134 mg per ounce. For a chart, see this page.

According to About.com: “Of interest is a 2006 study that looked at the relationship between constipation and water, fiber, and magnesium intake. The study was conducted in Japan with a whopping number of 3,835 subjects who were between the ages of 18 and 20. Constipation was not found to be associated with low fiber intake or low intake of water from fluids. Constipation was associated with low intake of magnesium and low intake of water from foods.” “Before You Take Magnesium for Constipation,”(April 14, 2010). “The laxative effect of magnesium appears to come through two different mechanisms. Magnesium relaxes the muscles in the intestines which helps to establish a smoother rhythm. Magnesium also attracts water; this increased amount of water in the colon serves to soften the stool, helping to make stools easier to pass.” Id.

Adequate magnesium also helps prevent arthritis from a build-up of unprocessed calcium in our bodies:

“Because magnesium suppresses PTH and stimulates calcitonin it helps put calcium into our bones, preventing osteoporosis, and helps remove it from our soft tissues eliminating some forms of arthritis.” (Nan Fuchs, Ph.D.)

The same Nan Fuchs, Ph.D.,  with that advice warns that too much calcium can lead to the malabsorption of calcium. She advises:

At the same time, refined sugar and alcohol should be reduced, and eliminated when possible to prevent magnesium from being excreted in large quantities in the urine. You may also want to re-evaluate the amount of dairy in your diet.

Also magnesium deficiency leads to cramping:

magnesium deficiency can trigger muscle tension, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and muscle fatigue. “The Magnesium ,chocolate Connection” (March 28, 2008).

Nuts

Any kind of nut is good for you. They are packed with fiber, omega-3s, L-arginine, and plant sterols. And nuts are healthy snacks that help fight hunger pain, and if eaten before meals cause your full signal to trigger sooner in the meal-time eating. Thus, nuts are good for dieters.

Nuts are known to help lower LDL bad cholesterol as well as lower the chance for dangerous blood clots. The MAYO clinic article on this says:

Most studies on people who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet have found that nuts lower the LDL, low-density lipoprotein or “bad,” cholesterol level in the blood. High LDL is one of the primary causes of heart disease, so nuts’ ability to lower LDL cholesterol seems to be quite beneficial….Eating nuts reduces your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack.

Olive Oil

I had a friend at a lunch warn me I was having fattening olive oil on my salad, and supposedly it was not good for me. Is this true? No. The Mayo Clinic points out:

When choosing fats, olive oil is a healthy choice. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, a healthier type of fat that can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels in your blood.

In contrast, saturated and trans fats — such as butter, animal fats, tropical oils and partially hydrogenated oils — increase your risk of heart disease by increasing your total and LDL cholesterol levels.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day may reduce your risk of heart disease. You can get the most benefit by substituting olive oil for saturated fats rather than just adding more olive oil to your diet.

 

In fact, what my companion believed about the fatty nature of olive oil contributing to poor cholesterol numbers was false:

Unlike the high amount of animal fats typical to the American diet, olive oil lowers cholesterol levels in the blood.[31] It is also known to lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure.[32] Olive oil contains the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid, antioxidants such as vitamin E and carotenoids, and oleuropein, a chemical that prevents the oxidation of LDL particles. It is these properties that are thought to contribute to the health benefits of olive oil.  (“Olive Oil,” Wikipedia.)

In the United States, producers of olive oil may place the following health claim on product labels:

Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tbsp.(23 g) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. (“Olive Oil,” Wikipedia.)

Studies are supportive of finding many more benefits than just for heart disease:

There is a large body of clinical data to show that consumption of olive oil can provide heart health benefits such as favourable effects on cholesterol regulation and LDLcholesterol oxidation, and that it exerts antiinflamatory, antithrombotic, antihypertensive as well as vasodilatory effects both in animals and in humans.  (“Olive Oil,” Wikipedia.)

Prune Juice and Prunes


If you have hemerroids, that is evidence of constipation, whether you admitted that to yourself or not.  The “physical evidence of constipation [includes] the presence of hemorrhoidal disease….”(“Constipation,” emedicine.)

Prune juice is one of the better known natural laxatives. Prunes are not only high in potassium, Vitamin A, and iron, but they are also extremely high in both insoluble and soluble fiber. Prunes work efficiently and quickly as natural laxatives. Therefore, just a small amount of prunes is generally all it takes to relieve constipation. (“What are some natural laxatives,” http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-some-natural-laxatives.htm.)

Eating a few prunes or drinking a glass of prune juice once a day usually will take care of any problems a person has with constipation.  (“Natural food laxatives“)
Not only does prune juice help in curing constipation,

but it also helps lower cholesterol. A chemical present in prune juice enables flushing out of LDL cholesterol from the body. Along with its cholesterol lowering properties, it helps in preventing estrogen dependent breast cancer in women. Prune juice helps in keeping the estrogen in place and also helps in absorption of estrogen in the bloodstream. (“Prune Juice for Constipation“).

 
By the way, rhubarb is also a natural laxative:

In fact, rhubarb contains a natural chemical that has laxative qualities. Rhubarb is considered to be a very powerful laxative. It might be wise due to this to eat rhubarb in small amounts. 1

PS Don’t depend entirely on foods to fight constipation:

A person being sedentary or not getting the right amount of exercise can lead to constipation. Increasing activity levels including taking regular walks or implementing an exercise routine
can help to increase the digestive process and move food and nutrients more quickly through the digestive tract.

Keeping the body hydrated is another way to keep constipation away. The intestines need water to mix with the stool in order to keep it soft and pliable. If the body is dehydrated the stool will become hard and dry. It will make it much harder to pass. Drinking large amounts of water each day will keep constipation away. (“Natural food laxatives“)

Red Wine

One glass of wine is 180 calories. Yet, a glass a day can be worth the extra calories.

MSNBC reports: “It’s been well documented that moderate amounts of alcohol can raise your good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) and thin your blood.”

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/21478144/#ixzz0jMqwPuiS

In 2009, studies showed important dental health benefits:

Both regular and non-alcoholic red wine were found to prevent cavity-causing bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) from adhering to tooth enamel. The active ingredient that does this is a flavonoid compound that also naturally occurs in cinnamon, apples, cocoa and tea. And a Canadian study found that red wine polyphenols can help prevent and treat inflammatory gum disease. (Source: “Drinking Red Wine May Prevent Cavities,” by Jennifer Viegas, November 25, 2009)[2]

Which red wine is best?

While all types of alcohol have some anti-cholesterol benefits, the star of the show seems to be Cabernet Sauvignon. According to Yale-New Haven Hospital’s nutrition advisor, the drier the wine, the better. Cabernet Sauvignon has the highest flavonoid content, with Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir varieties also containing a high concentration of flavonoids.[2]

Ansbacher explains why in this You Tube video: certain grapes grow higher on hills, and thus has greater exposure to UV-light, and this is what spurs the anti-oxidant response.

Read more at Suite101: Three Surprising Health Benefits of Red Wine: Red Wine and Heart Health, Dental Health and Alzheimer’s http://nutrition.suite101.com/article.cfm/3-surprising-health-benefits-of-red-wine#ixzz0jMrrNML8

Red wine is significantly protective, it appears, against lung cancer for smokers: “Only red wine appeared protective; consumption of at least one glass a day correlated with a whopping 60 percent decreased risk of developing lung cancer.” (2008 study.)


WARNING: Red Wine’s alcohol can destroy vitamins, in particular the B-vitamins, in the food you are eating, so drink it at a time after you digested your food. June Russell’s Health Facts collected these warnings about alcohol and vitamin absorprtion which is why I have a 1/2 glass of wine before bed:

Alcohol interferes with the metabolism of most vitamins, and with the absorption of many nutrients. Alcohol stimulates both urinary calcium and magnesium excretion.  (Dept. of Health and Human Services, Report to Congress, 1990.)

It is best to hold off on that alcoholic drink for four hours after taking your vitamins. Alcohol may hasten a supplement’s breakdown in the stomach, perhaps interfering with absorption. (“Health check,” by Nancy Snyderman, MD, Good Housekeeping, Jan. 1998)

Alcohol reduces the absorption of food through the lining of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of amino acids, glucose, zinc and vitamins.  (“Alcohol and tobacco, America’s drugs of choice.” Information Plus, 1999.)

Alcohol hampers the efficient metabolizing of fatty acids.  (“Get Health Now,” by Gary Null, one of America’s leading health and fitness advocates, 1999)

Alcohol inhibits fat absorption and thereby impairs absorption of the vitamins A, E, and D that are normally absorbed along with dietary fats. (Alcohol & Research World 1989) 
Alcohol destroys B vitamins. This is a list of minerals and vitamins that you will need to supplement if you drink alcohol: calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, vitamin C, thiamine and riboflavin. 
(“The Complete Guide to Your Emotions and Your Health,” Editors of Prevention magazine. 1986.)
Even in small amounts, alcohol will destroy vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid, which causes an increase in susceptibility to homocysteine, a greater predictor of heart disease than cholesterol. 
(“The Ultimate Anti-aging Program,” Gary Null, 1999)
Alcohol can lower levels of both folic acid, a B vitamin that may prevent polyp formation, and methionine, an amino acid that appears to block carcinogenesis. The more you drink the higher the risk of colon cancer. (Self Healing newsletter, Dr. Andrew Weil, Jan. 2000)
Thiamin assimilation is blocked by alcohol consumption. Alcohol use also injures the small intestine and reduces its ability to absorb thiamin. Alcohol decreases thiamin conversion to thiamin pyrophosphate and depletes tissues of this coenzyme. (“Vitamin B-1 – General Discussion, dcnutrition.com, Apr. 2004)

In addition, I found the following warning at Bellybytes:
Tea and red wine contain tannins which interfere with the utilization of ironthiamin and B12.

Resveratrol: Its Role

Red wine is believed to have an activating effect on a sirtuin gene by means of resveratrol present in red wine. In turn, this sirtuin gene is believe to extend life-spans when activated. (See 60 Minutes Story from May 2009.) The only other means of activating this sirtuin drink is by being hungry:

“Eating a lot of food turns that off. Dieting, extreme dieting turns it on,” Sinclair says[3].

As a result of the discovery that resvetrol in red wine has this effect when concentrated into a pill, as of 2009 the results show significant benefits to people with untreated diabetes. Resveratrol lowered glucose and insulin levels, per a 60 Minutes story that ran in 2009.


Salt – NOT!

It turns out that too much salt is deadly. We get a lot of salt through processed foods. But cutting down can be a key life-saver. In a March 2010 article at the Mayo Clinic website, we read:

A recent article in the “New England Journal of Medicine” looked at the potential impact of reducing salt intake. The report found that if Americans cut their salt intake by 3 grams a day, new cases of heart disease, stroke and heart attack would significantly drop — as would the number of deaths. The authors estimate that these changes could save between $10 billion and $24 billion in health care costs annually. In light of this, many experts are calling on food manufacturers and restaurants to lower the amount of salt in the foods they sell.

Supplement Version of Vitamins: Good or Worse for You?

I take vitamin supplements every day. However, some evidence reveals that supplements are not good where in foods they are good.
In an AFP report of July 30, 2010 we read “Calcium Supplements Linked to Heart attacks.”  This says in 11 clinical trials involving 12,000 persons, those taking supplements of calcium were associated with a 30 percent jump in heart attack risk.

The link was consistent across trials and was independent of age, sex, and type of supplement. Id.

What about natural sources of calcium?

Previous studies have found that upping calcium intake through changes in diet does not increase cardiovascular problems, suggesting that the risks are restricted to supplements. 

Hence, this would suggest with calcium that it has a negative impact on heart attacks in supplement form, but not when it is found in its natural sources. Something obviously in those natural sources is not present in the supplement version.
Hence, this supports trying to get the sources of vitamins in their natural forms.

Water

Sufficient hydration is essential to keeping your kidneys functioning well (avoiding painful stones). How much is right?

Determine how much water you need. You’ve probably heard the “8 by 8” rule – drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (2 quarts, 1.8 liters) – but the amount of water a person needs varies depending on his or her weight, activity level and climate. Another way to determine your specific recommended water intake is to divide your weight (in pounds) by two. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you need each day. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., strive to drink 75 ounces of water daily. For those who use the Metric system, divide your weight (in kilograms) by 30 (ex. somebody weighing 70 kg is going to need 2.3 liters per day). Keep in mind that these recommended intake numbers are controversial and some experts believe they are a gross exaggeration. See “warnings” below for more information. (“How to drink more water.”)

What about drinking water with meals? It is apparently an old wives tale that says drinking water will dilute stomach acid and harm digestion:

Whether or not to drink liquids with meals is a matter of preference.  Drinking does not hinder digestion by washing away stomach acid or digestive enzymes. The stomach actually draws in water from the rest of the body to digest food.  Drinking with meals can provide a false sense of fullness, thereby limiting calorie intake, which is a good thing if you are trying to eat fewer calories. (“Ask Mary“)

I also have heard the following weight-loss benefits from drinking water:

Water and Fat Loss

The levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when the body is well hydrated. The more oxygen the body has readily available the more fat it will burn for energy. Without the presence of oxygen the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy efficiently. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated but because the increased oxygen levels you will also have more energy.

Drink water, it will do your body good!


References

  • http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/3705/title/Food_for_Thought__Cranberry_Juice%2B%23151%3BA_Cocktail_for_the_Heart
  • http://nutrition.suite101.com/article.cfm/3-surprising-health-benefits-of-red-wine
  • http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/25/60minutes/main4752082.shtml