Several years ago, 60 Minutes “discovered” that European men lived longer than their American counterparts, and ultimately the “French Paradox” of eating rich foods and drinking plenty of wine with minimal adverse health effects was traced, in part, to resveratrol.
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring phenol in many plants, and is present in the skins of red grapes used to make wine. Suddenly, America was on a resveratrol binge. Since we all know (we do know this, don’t we?) that drinking an excessive quantity of alcohol is not healthy for certain organs in our bodies, why not ingest resveratrol in pill form as a healthy additive? Then when we drink wine, that’s all the better because we will digest even more of this magic substance.
Just as it was for Ponce de Leon when his quest for the Fountain of Youth fizzled, the tale of a longer, healthier life thanks to resveratrol does not now appear to be true.
Johns Hopkins University medical researchers have reported out the results of a nine-year lifestyle study using almost 800 Italians over 65 years old when the study began as the test group. There are many controversial aspects of the study — including some inconsideration towards dietary differences, health conditions when the subjects entered the study and family history factors — but in the end, the researchers concluded that those who drank red wine on at least a daily basis in moderation had no significant deviation in death rates, aging patterns, heart disease, or incidence of cancer from the general population.
While the study lacked certain controls, and the monitoring of the subjects over the course of nine years was not constant, the general conclusion is that the ingestion of resveratrol was not a benefit to achieve a longer life or to stave off serious disease.
What is true, however, as shown in many other studies, is that wine is a “natural” beverage and when used properly and responsibly on a regular basis does not contribute to the presence or acuteness of end-of-life medical issues.
What is also true, according to the study, is that if you have been taking resveratrol in tablet form, you may want to consider saving those dollars you have been spending on pills.
According to Dr. Manny Alvarez, Fox News Channel’s Senior Managing Editor for Health News, “Numerous studies on longevity indicate that moderate alcohol consumption is one of the many positive factors, in addition to things like exercise, diet and living a healthy and social lifestyle, which can help keep you alive for a long, long time.”
Don’t know how I got going on this lifestyle rant today, but let’s cover one more issue – a pet peeve of mine and one your doctor will back me up on. Maybe the only one your doctor will back me up on. I am a walking example of “don’t do it this way.”
While we continue to see conflicting reports and studies on the effects of red meats in our diets, the importance of fish in our diets, and the presence of kale in New Orleans, one thing that has been shown to be not good for you, in large quantities, is sugar. A little sugar is fine. A lot contributes to all sorts of issues, not the least of which is obesity which is certainly a factor in shortening life.
So, in our own small way, let’s try to eliminate at least a little sugar from our life.
Summer is here and who among us is not going to be tempted to add a spirit to our regimen of snow balls. It’s a great way to make a hot, humid afternoon completely tolerable. Take some vodka or rum and add it as the adult complement to our favorite shaved-ice flavor.
If you are tempted to do this, and I assume we all are and we will do it, back off the syrup just a bit. You are adding sugar to sugar if you take all the usual quantity of syrup in your snow ball and then top it off with rum, or whatever. Gang, it’s just too sweet, and it’s not good for you.
I know, snow balls are never going to be a health food, but all that sugar from syrup and alcohol together moves you even further out on the scale of not-the-best-thing-to-do.
Tell you what, if you know you are going to head for the snow ball stand, when you pack your alcohol, also pack some fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice. You will add grand flavors to your snow ball (yes, honey, Daddy is having one just like you.) but you will also cut back on the sugar content.
It’s a little thing but, hey, if you do a bunch of little things, they amount to something good. Do as I say…..