Is red wine good for your heart?

No, is the simple answer

The French paradox – in spite of high saturated fat intake, the French die less of coronary heart disease thanks to their higher consumption of red wine

The concept that drinking red wine can prevent cardiovascular disease dates back to the early nineties, when Serge Renaud and Michel de Lorgeril published a paper in the Lancet entitled,   ” Wine, alcohol, platelets and the French paradox for coronary heart disease”. They argued that whereas their consumption of saturated fat was high, mortality from coronary heart disease was low compared to the US and the UK. They called this the “French paradox” The difference was the French drink more red wine, there was some protective polyphenols that came straight from red grapes. The studies were based on data from three French cities, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Lille. CHD mortality was much lower in Toulouse compared to Strasbourg and Lille, however wine consumption was much higher in Toulouse compared to the other two cities.

In the 1990s, wine  sales in europe were declining, with many young people switching to beer, wine drinking was seen to be old-fashioned. The wine industry jumped on the “French paradox” story promoting an epic marketing campaign which instilled in a lot of people the idea that drinking red wine is good for your heart.

A great deal of research ensued and found, while there was some beneficial effects from the extracts from grapes, the amount of wine needed to get enough resveratrols to produce a significant effect would be incompatible with the toxic effects of alcohol.

The key to below the norm mortality rates from CHD in Toulouse, was not red wine but diet. While they drank more red wine and ate slightly more cheese, they ate a lot more vegetables, a lot more fruit, half the butter and more vegetable fat and more bread. In other words they were eating more fruit and vegetables and ingested more fibre, less saturated fat, more polyunsaturated fat and more grains.

The popular narrative of the French paradox gets the premise and the conclusion wrong. It is wrong to assume that saturated fat is all that matters to predict cardiovascular risk, since we know it is just one of the many dietary factors involved. And it is dead wrong to suggest that drinking a few glasses of red wine is all you need to make it better. If anything, the whole story proves once more the concept that the balance of diet in general is more important than any single component in preventing disease and ensuring good health.

http://www.nutrition.org. 01/18/2013; Stefano Vendrame

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Our brain is inconceivable, beyond imagination

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The brain is made up of an inconceivable number of cells

An “enchanted loom” is how Charles Sherrington described the interconnected net of cells that make up our three-pound control centre. Indeed there is something almost magical in the notion that all our mental processes from perception, to memory to consciousness itself, can be described entirely by cellular activity in the brain.

The basic functional unit of the brain is the neuron, a special cell that sends electrochemical signals to other neurons (across a “synaptic gap”) and thereby creates those patterns that make up what we think of as the mind.

The complexity of the task requires a fairly inconceivable 100 billion neurons, interconnected via trillions of synapses. A single firing neutron might communicate to thousands of others in a single moment. No computer comes close to the complexity of these communicating bits of organic matter.

What’s more, for each neuron there are 10 to 15 glial cells providing structural support, protection, resources and more.

Source; http://www.livescience.com

Alcohol is a drug that goes to the brain, interfering with the cells, disrupting the communication. That is why after a few drinks we have difficulty thinking, talking, walking, eating. The more alcohol, the more out of control.

Why do we consciously interfere with the workings of this incredible machine?

If we knew how much damage we were doing to our brain, would we drink as much?

Would we drink at all?

Keith Floyd on pleasure

I drink whisky, I drink beer, I drink wine. I love fatty pork and beef on the bone. I eat chocolate, fish and chips and caviar and drink vodka. I drink instant coffee but adore a Spanish cafe solo. I eat chillies, ginger and garlic. I adore pungent blue cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola and Danish Blue. I love liver with fried onions and I enjoy ice cream and hot chocolate sauce between cigarettes. I drink Champagne on occasion, aquavit rarely, gin and tonic occasionally. I love apples and Mars bars. In fact I am a chocaholic. Actually I am a kind of gastronomic tramp. I am too hungry for dinner at eight, and sometimes at breakfast a curry is great. Ossobuco in an Italian service station can please, an ignorantly served hamburger can bring you to your knees. For me the whole thing about eating and drinking is whatever gives you pleasure, enjoyment and fun

Sadly Keith Floyd died of a heart attack at 66. From the book Floyd Uncorked by Jonathan Pedley with Keith Floyd

 

Your brain is your best friend

Your brain is your best friend, it controls everything you do, how you feel.

This is how it can make you happy, just by taking a little exercise;

“What triggers happiness in our brain when we exercise?

If you start exercising, your brain recognises this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain – Derived Neurothropic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also a reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising and we have a happy sense of achievement”       Leo Widrich, blog.bufferapp.com

A half hour walk will do. While your brain accounts for only 2% of your body weight, it devours 20% of the energy. There’s a lot going on in there so it pays to look after your best friend. Here’s a list of top foods for the brain;

  1. Wholegrains
  2. Oily fish
  3. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants
  4. Tomatoes, avocados
  5. Water
  6. Dark chocolate
  7. Pumpkin seeds
  8. Broccoli
  9. Nuts

If you look after your brain  – your brain will look after you

Sound health!

Do you know how alcohol affects your skin? 10 Q&A’s

1. Why does your skin appear dull after drinking?

Alcohol dehydrates your skin and depletes it of vital skin nutrients

2. If you overindulge in alcohol, what long-term effect on facial blood vessels occur?

Drinking alcohol causes facial blood vessels to dilate. Excessive alcohol can cause the vessels to dilate permanently. This causes red spiky veins.

3. Does alcohol consumption affect other skin conditions such as rosacea and psoriasis?

Alcohol may aggravate these skin conditions and cause additional flare ups

4. Which foods should you avoid when suffering a hangover?

Anything fried. Choose nutrient rich foods to reverse some of the negative effects of the drinking from the night before, whole grain toast for example

5. Alcohol depletes which beneficial vitamin?

Vitamin A, an important anti-oxidant

6. Why is vitamin A beneficial to the skin?

Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that boosts collagen production and skin cell turnover

7. What is the primary physical trait of heavy drinkers?

Heavy drinkers usually have rosy cheeks, a red nose or a flushed face

8. What should you drink along with alcohol to avoid dehydration?

Drinking water along with alcohol will counteract the effects of the alcohol and will decrease dehydration

9. The toxins in alcohol can contribute to what unattractive skin flaw?

Alcohol can cause the build up of cellulite

10. After several drinks, the body will divert oxygen and blood away from where?

The skin. Skin loses important blood circulation because oxygen and blood is diverted to the liver and other organs

Source: Howstuffworks.com

 

10 simple ways to lose weight

1.Eat a healthy breakfast! It kicks start your metabolism and you are less likely to snack mid morning and less likely to eat past the point of fullness at lunch. Eating porridge every morning has other health benefits. It boosts energy, helps to lower cholesterol( as part of a low-fat diet), and may help prevent heart disease and other cancers, helps control blood sugars and aids digestion.

2.Eat cereal for breakfast (hot or cold). Breakfast cereals such as whole grain cereals (oat or wheat based cereals) are lower in calories and higher in vitamins and minerals than other breakfast foods. A typical breakfast demi- baguette contains 1,335 calories and 66g of fat – EIGHT times the calories and 33 times the fat value of a breakfast of porridge oats and a serving of orange juice.

3. Choose porridge and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice Instead of a latte and a croissant and save 140 kcal and 14g fat. Or if you insist on having morning coffee, swap your cappuccino or latte for an Americano and save 100 kcal. As porridge is 100% whole grain, one bowl provides two of the three servings of whole grains recommended for health. Diets rich in whole grain can help prevent heart disease.

4. Drink plenty of water; people often mistake thirst for hunger. The recommended daily amount is two litres and more when exercising.

5. Choose an apple instead of a muffin and save 265 kcal and 14g fat. Or go for a pear instead of a ring doughnut and be 200 kcal better off.

6. Eat more low energy dense foods like fruit and vegetables – leave the fruit bowl on the kitchen table and finish every meal with a piece of fruit.

7. Half fill your plate with steamed or salad vegetables at your main meal. These foods are filling but have very few calories.

8. Avoid distractions at mealtimes. Eating while reading the newspaper or watching the television can blunt satiety cues and results in higher calorie intakes.

9. Don’t snack while watching the television (or at the cinema) as this leads to passive over consumption of calories. Look but don’t eat.

10. Watch the size of your portions! Food portion sizes grow year by year, even though people actually need less energy due to a shift towards sedentary lifestyles. The Americans have dubbed it ” portion distortion”

Source; Nuala Collins, Leading independent nutritionist, www. flahavans.ie/health-and-nutrition

Missing Link Between Breast Cancer and Alcohol Discovered

A protein has been identified that plays a key role in the link between drinking alcohol and breast cancer.

Women with higher levels of the molecule in their breasts are more likely to develop cancer if they drink too much, research suggests.

Scientists in Mexico say their discovery could lead to a test showing which individuals are most at risk. Preventative measures could them be taken, such as helping vulnerable people cut down on alcohol.

The protein, an enzyme called CYP2E1, is believed to be involved in breaking down ethanol, otherwise known as alcohol , in the body.

In the process, unstable destructive oxygen molecules called free radicals are generated, which attack cell membranes and DNA.

Free radical damage, or oxidative stress, is known to be linked to cancer as well as other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

Alcohol consumption is a long-established risk factor for breast cancer but until now the reason for the link has not been clear.

In this situation why aren’t women being warned of the dangers? How are drinks companies allowed advertise alcohol without any warning? Why is there no breakdown of the composition of alcohol drinks on the bottles or cans?

 

Does alcohol affect our skin?

“Yes” according to Dr. David Colbert, founder of New York Dermatology Group. “Alcohol is a hepatoxin, meaning it specifically damages the liver. It’s a toxin to the cells that detoxify your body” “Alcohol also contains congeners, chemical substances produced during fermentation process that contribute to liquors’ unique tastes and smell. Congeners are the main cause of hangovers, so the more congeners in your liquor, the worse your hangover…and the worse you look in the morning”

“On top of that, all alcohol dehydrates the skin. This means your skin will appear less plump and fresh the next morning”

– Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist”

Source; The Huffington Post

Alcohol and calories (in women); does drinking cause weight gain?

“When you drink alcohol, its broken down into acetaldehyde (basically vinegar) , which the body will burn before any other calorie you’ve consumed or stored including fat or even sugar. So if you drink and consume more calories than you need , you’re more likely to store the fat from the Cheez Whiz you ate and the sugar from the  Coke you drank because your body is getting all its energy from the acetaldehyde in the beer you sucked down.

Further, studies show that alcohol temporarily inhibits “lipid oxidisation” – in other words, when alcohol is in your system, it’s harder for your body to burn fat that’s already there. Since eating fat is the most metabolically efficient way to put fat on your body – you actually use a small amount of calories when you turn excess carbs and protein into body fat, but excess fat slips right into your saddlebags, no costume change necessary – hypothetically speaking, following a high fat – high alcohol diet would be the easiest way to put on weight”

Rachael Coombe, Elle.com

Drink alcohol sensibly? Ridiculous

The “Drink xxxxxx sensibly” tag line appears in most advertising and marketing promotional material

It’s there so that the drinks companies don’t have to mention alcohol in the advertising

Or display any information about alcohol in publicity or on pack

Clearly no drinker pays any attention to it;

  • “According to the WHO, alcohol is the 3rd leading risk factor contributing to the global burden of disease
  • Ireland has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption per capita. In 2010, 11.9 litres of pure alcohol was consumed for every adult aged 15 and over according to the Revenue Commissioners/CSO
  • Alcohol is associated with a range of chronic and acute medical conditions, liver cirrhosis, various cancers, road traffic collisions and suicide
  • Problem alcohol use is pervasive in Irish society,with men and women, old and young, experiencing its negative effects”

Source; HRB.ie, Treated problem alcohol use in Ireland

Time then for the  drinks companies to show the consumer some respect and stop asking them to drink alcohol sensibly?

Alcohol is a toxic, psychoactive, addictive drug. To ask anyone to drink it sensibly is absurd

The responsible thing to do is be honest and upfront.

Give the consumer all the information about alcohol and let them make up their own mind