Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cloudy apple juice 'healthier'

Cloudy apple juice is better for you than clear varieties, say researchers.

Polish scientists found the levels of antioxidants which protect against heart disease and cancer are almost double in cloudy apple juice.

The antioxidants, called polyphenols, are also found in red wine, berries and dark chocolate.

In the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the researchers said the manufacturing process led to fewer polyphenols in clear apple juice.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Does Chocolate Have Health Benefits?

By Art Vine


Chocolate contains high levels of beneficial chemicals and antidioxants such as Seratonin, Phenylethylaminea, Pentamer and flavonoids. It is also high in essential trace elements, minerals and vitamins such as iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E as well as many nutrients. Cocoa powder is also the highest known natural source of Magnesium.

Because it contains Seratonin and Phenylethylamine, chocolate can be good for mental health. These substances are 'mood lifting' agents which are released naturally into our system by the human brain when we are feeling happy or in love. Eating chocolate also releases Seratonin and Phenylethylamine into the system, thus (as all chocoholics know), when we are feeling down or depressed chocolate can provide a 'lift', instantly improving our mental state.

Studies indicate that a chemical found in chocolate called Pentamer help can protect against cancer.

Chocolate is very high in anidioxants in the form of flavanoids Also found in lesser amounts in tea, fruit and red wine, studies indicate they protect the heart and arteries from damage by free radicals.

Magnesium deficiency is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and pre-menstrual problems, otherwise known as PMT or PMS. This condition is caused by a pre-menstrual drop in progesterone levels and it's this which precipitates the violent mood swings familiar to so many women (and their families). Adding magnesium to the diet has been proved to increase pre-menstrual progesterone levels, helping to reduce or even eliminate the problem.

There are benefits for men too, as well as the high Magnesium and flavanoids content which are beneficial for the heart, arteries and hypertension, studies indicate that the cocoa butter in high quality chocolate, although technically a 'saturated fat', does not fur up the arteries or contribute to high cholesterol levels.

Chocolate is an unsurpassed nutritional source, providing high levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, a single chocolate chip can provide enough energy for the average man to walk about 170' or 50m. Napoleon carried chocolate with him on his campaigns and today most armies provide chocolate in daily ration packs for soldiers in the field. For over 100 years the British, army have issued soldiers with emergency or 'Iron Rations' of chocolate, containing very high levels of cocoa (80%+), for use in emergencies. Each 'iron ration' of 8oz's - 227g of chocolate can not only provide enough nutrition to keep a soldier going for 7 days or more, it also helps keep up moral in difficult circumstances.

STOP PRESS Nov, 06: Results of a study by Johns Hopkins University indicate that chocolate acts in a similar way to Aspirin in effectively preventing blood clots in the arteries, reducing the likelihood of heart attacks.


They say "there's no such thing as a free lunch" and chocolate, like all good things in life, has it's problems too. It contains sugar and fat in the form of chocolate butter and eating too much of either will cause health problems. As a result, chocolate has developed an undeserved reputation for being unhealthy.

But, although recognised as being addictive to many people, particularly to Women, chocolate itself is not really the cause of the major health problems it's been associated with.

These problems are caused by the simple fact that many chocoholics choose to satisfy their chocolate cravings in the unhealthiest way possible, by buying heavily advertised, mass produced, brand name, milk and white chocolates.

These products are generally very low in chocolate solids (ave less than 20%) and very, very high in sugar and saturated fats. The beneficial cocoa butter has usually been replaced with Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (HVO's), and there's no question that HVO's are catastrophically ruinous for your health. To make matters worse, because of the very low chocolate content, chocoholics have to eat 3 or 4 times more of this type of product to satisfy a craving for chocolate.

Filled chocolates, both the commercial variety and, sadly, many handmade chocolates, are some of the worst culprits, with centre's consisting almost exclusively of flavoured Fondants and pralines - fondant is virtually 100% sugar and many pralines aren't much better.

The upshot is, if you want a guaranteed way to to get very unhealthy in a very short time, this is one of the most effective ways to way do it.


To find the healthiest chocolate the first thing you need to do is start reading the labels, real chocolate should only contain the following ingredients:

Dark chocolate should contain: Cocoa, Sugar, Vanilla and Lethicin in that order.

Milk chocolate should contain only Cocoa, Sugar, Milk solids/fats, Vanilla and Lethicin.

White chocolate should contain only Cocoa Butter, Sugar, Milk solids/fats, Vanilla and Lethicin.

Flavoured chocolates may also contain a natural flavouring such as Orange oil, spices etc, it should not contain Vanillin (artificial Vanilla), vegetable fats or anything else.

For our purposes here, the healthiest chocolate is going to be that which contains the maximum cocoa solids and the minimum sugar. This would make 100% pure chocolate the healthiest option, unfortunately this is virtually inedible because of it's bitterness.

In practice all chocolate has to have some sugar added simply to make it palatable. Dark chocolate containing 70% (or more) cocoa content is generally recognised as being the healthiest option, simply because it contains more chocolate and less sugar.

If you must eat milk or white Chocolate, you should moderate your consumption and make sure your milk chocolate contains a minimumn 35% cocoa and your white chocolate contains a minimum 30% cocoa butter, with the balance of both made up of milk solids and sugar in about equal proportions.

If you like filled chocolates, either handmade chocolate or otherwise, choose those chocolates with fillings containing high cocoa content, covered with high quality chocolate coverture. Not mass produced, high sugar content Pralines or Fondants covered with low quality coatings that barely even qualify as chocolate.

Chocolate should contain ABSOLUTELY NO Vegetable oils or artificial additives of any kind.


If you love chocolate and/or filled chocolates, there's good stuff out there if you look, and as chocolate lovers become more and more discerning, demand for the real thing grows, so it's getting more plentiful by the day. For the healthiest way to satisfy a craving for chocolates, you just have to be more choosy over what you buy to eat (or for gifts) remember, the higher the cocoa content, the healthier it is..... and the nicer it tastes.

About the Author: Art Vine is half of a wife/husband team dedicated to making real handmade chocolates.

Visit Aphrodite Chocolates website for a range of handmade chocolate gifts and chocolate articles.

Reproduced with permission.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Red wine molecule helps mice live longer

A compound in red wine and grapes can extend the life span of obese mice and help them enjoy a healthier old age, scientists say.

The molecule known as resveratrol not only enabled the mice to live longer than other overweight rodents, it also reduced the negative health effects of eating a high-calorie diet.

Resveratrol has been shown to have same effect in studies on yeast, flies and worms. But the scientists say their research is the first to show it works in mammals.

"It is possible to find a molecule that activates the body's natural defences against ageing. You can use it to enhance the health of a mouse or mammal. That is unprecedented," says Associate Professor David Sinclair, of Harvard Medical School.

He adds that the study, reported online today in the journal Nature, is proof of the principle that it works in mammals.

But the real test will be to develop formulations or find other molecules to treat age-related illnesses such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease and cancer in humans.

Researchers already know that restricting calories can prolong life in mice and other organisms.

Resveratrol seems to mimic the beneficial effects of eating less without the hassle of dieting.

Source - News in science

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It's hot to be cold

Cold spells can boost your immunity and help muscle pain and depression. But is plunging into an ice bath or a freezing chamber going too far? A sceptical Ellie Levenson examines the evidence
I'm not good at being cold: a fondness for moaning and a tendency to be pathetic rather put me off the winter months. When I was in Berlin one December and temperatures plunged below -12°C, the only way I could cope was by eating fried food on the hour and drinking hot wine on the half hour. I own more fleeces than I've had hot dinners and I've had quite a lot of those. My hot water bottle is currently one of my most treasured possessions.

Article continues


But snuggling up, it seems, is no longer the way to get through winter. Not only has recent research from the Scripps Research Institute in California shown that reducing the core body temperature of mice makes them live for longer, but cryotherapy, where people are exposed for short bursts of time to extremely cold temperatures, is the latest treatment fad. Right now being cold is very hot indeed.
Cryotherapy - which is popular in Poland, where it is available in many conventional hospitals - involves standing in chambers filled with cold, dry air at temperatures as low as -135°C. The London Kriotherapy Centre (which uses the Polish spelling) claims this treatment can help a range of ailments from muscular injuries to depression. Cryotherapy is also used by sports teams to decrease the amount of time needed for muscles to recover between training sessions.

The exposure to extreme cold is supposed to stimulate the temperature receptors in the skin to tell the brain to withdraw blood to the body's core. Once this is over, blood is pumped vigorously back around the body, stimulating oxygen and nutrient supply to areas that need revitalising. "Our motto is that you don't have to feel bad to feel better." says Charlie Brooks, director of the centre, who recommends taking 10 two-minute treatments (at £30 a time) over a two-week period.

Tony Wilson, a physiotherapist at the University of Southampton, says that in theory these claims for cold are true but that such extreme temperatures are not necessary. "What they say about the treatment is correct but you might as well just get in a cold bath and save your money," he says. This is what the marathon runner Paula Radcliffe does before a race, describing on her website her pre-race routine: "... five hours before the start of the race, I eat my last meal. Another big bowl of porridge, some banana, some biscuits, a yoghurt and a little chocolate: fuel for later in the day. After eating, I relax again, take a shower and then go for my pre-race ice bath. Athletes mix the ice and water depending on their appetite for discomfort. Some like it colder than others. I like it very cold."

Source - Guardian

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Eat Chocolate for a Healthy Heart

A few squares of dark chocolate a day could cut your risk of heart attack, say scientists.

A new study has found those who regularly eat chocolate have a lower risk of blood clotting problems which can trigger a deadly heart problems.

The researchers are advising people that eating a little bit of chocolate, especially the dark kind, or drinking hot cocoa regularly could be good for your health.

It is a message that will be welcomed by many Britons given that we are the biggest chocolate eaters in Europe.

Typically we munch our way through an average 22lb of chocolate per year, costing each of us around £72 annually.

The latest study, which could further boost sales, actually arose by accident out of other research into aspirin.

The trial by John Hopkins University involved hundreds of people who were asked to embark on exercise, stop smoking and cut out foods such as wine, chocolate and caffeine prior to the start of the trial.

Unfortunately 139 people were unable to give up their regular chocolate treat and when they admitted their 'crime' had to be excluded from the trial.

However lead researcher Diane Becker decided to monitor their blood anyway to see if the chocolate had any effect on them.

She looked at the activity of platelets, which can clump together and so cause clots.

If one of these clots leads to a blockage it can trigger a heart attack.

The team found the blood of those who were having a regular nibble of chocolate typically took an average of 130 seconds to clot when placed in a special hair-thin tube.

By contrast those who stayed away from chocolate had blood that clotted within 123 seconds.

Source - Daily Mail

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Wine 'can help treat gum disease'

Chemicals in red wine can help prevent and treat gum disease, a study says.

Canadian scientists believe the polyphenols can block production of free radical molecules, high levels of which can damage gum tissue.

The research, by Quebec's Universite Laval, was presented to the American Association for Dental Research.

However, dentists warn there are other risks associated with drinking wine, and people should not think it was good for their teeth.


Saturday, December 31, 2005

Alcohol's health benefits doubted

Any heart gains from drinking alcohol in moderation are likely outweighed by the harm, say researchers.

The findings in The Lancet suggest that drinking a glass or two of wine a day may not be such a good idea.

Although past research suggests some heart benefits, the New Zealand team says the studies were flawed.

Indeed, there is more evidence that heavier drinking provides the most heart protection - alcoholics have relatively 'clean' arteries - they say.

Source - BBC News

Now that is what I call bad news!

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Monday, February 28, 2005

Wine 'can protect women's hearts'

Drinking wine, but not beer or spirits, keeps women's hearts beating healthily, Swedish research suggests.

Scientists studied the effect of alcohol consumption on 102 women under the age of 75 who had survived a heart attack or surgery for blocked arteries.

They found those who drank a small amount of wine every day for a year had the healthiest heart beat rhythm.

Drinking beer or spirits did not seem to have the same effect, the Karolinska Institute team told the journal Heart.

Source BBC News

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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Pomegranates: the fruity panacea

Pomegranates are being hailed as a super-food which can protect the heart.

Scientists in Israel have shown that drinking a daily glass of the fruit's juice can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

"Pomegranate juice contains the highest antioxidant capacity compared to other juices, red wine and green tea," said Professor Michael Aviram, who led the team.

This is good news, for antioxidants are the naturally occurring substances in plants that protect the body from free radicals - 'bad' chemicals in the blood.

Free radicals alter cholesterol in a process known as oxidation, which is thought to speed up the hardening of the arteries.

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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Scientists hail healthy olive oil

Scientists from all over the world are meeting in southern Spain for the first international conference on olive oil and health.

The Mediterranean diet is famous for its richness, in taste and in vitamins: fresh vegetables, fish, a glass or two of red wine and of course, olive oil.

"Olive oil and wine - healthy and divine," says a famous Spanish proverb.

Spaniards are indeed three times less likely than northern Europeans to contract heart disease.
They think it is largely thanks to their olives.

But new studies show that olive oil has an even healthier allure.

It promotes strong bone development, helps to prevent colon and breast cancer, Alzheimer's and other aging diseases.

More than 300 scientists from the world over are attending the conference in Jaen, the centre of Spain's oil production, to compare notes, in the hope of persuading their respective governments to invest more money in olive oil medical research.

Source BBC News

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Red wine 'wards off lung cancer'

Drinking red wine may help to ward off lung cancer, a study suggests.

A team from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain found each glass a day reduced the risk of lung cancer by 13% compared to non-drinkers.

While studies have already suggested red wine can help reduce the risk of heart disease, it was not thought to offer protection against lung cancer.

But Cancer Research UK cast doubt on the findings, warning excess drinking increases the risk of other cancers.

Professor Tim Key, of the charity's epidemiology unit at Oxford University, said there was "no solid evidence to support the suggestion that red wine might help to prevent cancer".

Source BBC News


Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hibiscus Magic

An extract from the Hibiscus flower could have the same heart health benefits as red wine and tea, researchers suggest.

A team from the Chung Shan Medical University in Taiwan says the flower contains antioxidants that help control cholesterol levels.

They said animal studies showed the extract could reduce cholesterol in animals, so it may help humans.

The study is published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Source BBC News

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Wine leftovers 'fight bacteria'

Grapes left over from the wine-making process could become the latest weapon against bacteria.

Scientists in Turkey have discovered that these leftovers, or pomace, are effective against a range of bugs.

It follows tests on 14 types of common bacteria, some of which can cause food poisoning or serious illness.

Writing in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture, the scientists said adding grape pomace to food could reduce the risk of ill health.

The grapes left over from the wine making process generally consist of nothing more than seeds, skin and stems. They are often used to make vinegar.

Researchers from Erciyes University and Suleyman Demirel University used two types of Turkish grapes for their tests.

Source BBC News


Wednesday, March 31, 2004

A sherry could keep doctor away

If a heavy claret is not your tipple then reach for the sherry - it could protect your heart, research suggests.

Sherry may have the same health benefits of red wine, scientists at the University of Seville think.

Drinking sherry could protect people from coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attacks.

An article in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows that sherry reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.

The Spanish study found polyphenols in red wine, which are associated with reducing the incidence of coronary artery disease, are also found in sherry.

Source BBC News


Saturday, January 31, 2004

A glass of red wine in a pill

Scientists in Italy are developing a pill that will have all of the health benefits of a glass of red wine.

The move follows a string of studies suggesting the tipple can protect against a range of conditions, including cancer and heart disease.

The evidence is so strong some hospitals in the UK prescribe red wine to heart attack patients.
The pill will contain all of the healthy ingredients of red wine without the alcohol, says New Scientist.

Researchers at the Pavese Pharma Biochemical Institute in Pavia say they can turn red wine into a pill by freeze-drying the ingredients.

Source BBC News

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Sunday, November 30, 2003

Cup of cocoa may keep doctor away

A cup of cocoa a day may help to keep the doctor away.

A study by scientists in the United States has found that a cup of hot cocoa is rich in powerful antioxidants.

Previous studies have also shown these chemicals, which can protect against a range of diseases and reduce the effects of ageing, are found in cocoa.

However, this latest study suggests cocoa may be richer in antioxidants than better known "healthy" drinks like tea and red wine.

Source BBC News

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Hot Cocoa Tops Red Wine And Tea In Antioxidants

There's sweet news about hot cocoa: Researchers at Cornell University have shown that the popular winter beverage contains more antioxidants per cup than a similar serving of red wine or tea and may be a healthier choice.

The study adds to growing evidence of the health benefits of cocoa and points to a tasty alternative in the quest to maintain a diet rich in healthy antioxidants, chemicals that have been shown to fight cancer, heart disease and aging, the researchers say.

Their study, which they say is the most complete comparison to date of the total antioxidant content of these three popular beverages, will appear in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

Source American Chemical Society

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Friday, October 31, 2003

Red wine 'may treat lung disease'

Drinking a little red wine could protect against a serious lung disease, researchers have shown.

A chemical in wine, resveratrol, appears to damp down inflammation in the potentially fatal lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Researchers writing in the journal Thorax found the chemical was more effective than existing medications for COPD.

But experts say the best way to stop lung damage is not to smoke.

Source BBC News


Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Red wine may protect smokers

Drinking red wine may help to protect against the harmful effects of smoking, a study suggests.

Researchers have found that two glasses of red wine counteract the damage to the arteries caused by one cigarette.

However, smokers have been warned against drinking gallons of red wine in an effort to protect themselves.

Speaking at a major European conference, the researchers, said there was no evidence to suggest it protects beyond a single cigarette.

Dr John Lekakis and colleagues at Alexandra University Hospital in Athens, in Greece based their findings on a study of 16 healthy adults.

Source BBC News


Sunday, August 31, 2003

Mediterranean diet 'extends life'

Drinking red wine and cooking with olive oil may help us to live longer, say scientists.

They have found that key ingredients in both substances can significantly increase the lifespan of yeast.

Since yeast and humans share many genes, scientists have speculated they may have the same effect in people.

The findings provide more evidence to suggest that the Mediterranean diet may be the secret to living a long and healthy life.

Source BBC News

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Clue to elixir of life

Substances found in food and wine may be able to extend human life, according to new scientific research.

Scientists in the United States found that the substances - called polyphenols - can prolong the life of yeast cells significantly.They seem to work inside human cells too.

Polyphenols are produced by many plants - perhaps the best known is resveratrol, found in red wine.

Scientists have been interested in them for a long time because they seem to reduce a person's chances of developing heart disease and cancer.

Now researchers at Harvard University have discovered that the chemicals can prolong the life of yeast by about 70%.

They do this by a mechanism which was previously unknown, by increasing production of enzymes called sirtuins.

Anti-ageing pill

The researchers also found that resveratrol increases sirtuin production in human cells in the lab; and, most compellingly, that it appears to prolong the life of flies and worms.

"Everyone's been interested in the polyphenols because of their anti-oxidant properties," said Dr Konrad Howitz, one of the team, and director of molecular biology at BIOMOL, a research company also involved in the study.

"But this mechanism with the sirtuins is new and I guess people are going to go back to the epidemiological data on heart disease and cancer and figure out how much is down to the anti-oxidant mechanism and how much to the sirtuins."

It is too early to conclude that the researchers have found an elixir of human life - further work is needed, and the first step is to see if resveratrol can make mice live longer.

That experiment is scheduled to start in a few months' time, and should give results in less than a year.

If polyphenols do give mice extra life, and if that extra life is healthy, the stage will then be set for human trials of something which scientists have dreamed of for centuries - a pill or potion to make us live longer.

Source BBC News


Tuesday, December 31, 2002

New white wine 'good for heart'

The health benefits of red wine may now be found in a Chardonnay, according to researchers.
Red wine has long been thought to offer more protection against heart disease.

Now winemakers have developed a white wine which they say has the same benefits as red.

The wine, created by researchers at the University of Montpellier in France, is called Paradoxe Blanc because of the paradox that French people are partial to cigarettes and fatty foods, but suffer relatively low levels of heart disease.

One theory is that this is because they drink wine with their meals.

Source BBC News


Saturday, November 30, 2002

Red wine 'could prevent cancer'

Red wine could form the basis of a cancer prevention drug, researchers say.

The drug, based on a natural compound found in the drink, is being tested at the University of Leicester.

Resveratrol is a natural agent found in grapes, peanuts and several berries.

It is present in fruit juice from these berries and in wine.

It has been suggested it could be the reason why countries in southern Europe, where a lot of red wine is drunk, have a low incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Research has already shown that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
The Leicester team, has been awarded £1m to carry out the research along with the University of Michigan by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI).

It is the first time that a group outside America has been funded by the NCI for the early clinical development of a drug that may prevent cancer.

Source BBC News

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Alcohol rapidly confuses the brain

Just two glasses of wine or a weak pint of beer can leave your judgment dangerously clouded, warn scientists.

Dutch researchers found that a blood alcohol reading of just 0.04% left people unaware that they were making errors.

Dr Richard Ridderinkhof, of the University of Amsterdam who led the research, said this should act as a warning over drinking before driving.

Even at a level of 40 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, the researchers found a significant decline in the brain's responses. The legal limit for driving in Britain is 80mg per 100ml.

Source BBC News

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Wine protects against dementia

People who drink wine occasionally may have a lower risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.

Scientists found people who drank wine weekly or monthly were more than two times less likely to develop dementia.

The lead researcher was Dr Thomas Truelsen, of the Institute of Preventive Medicine at Kommunehospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark.

He said: "These results don't mean that people should start drinking wine or drink more wine than they usually do.

"But they are exciting because they could mean that substances in wine reduce the occurrence of dementia.

"If that's the case, we could potentially develop treatments or prevention methods based on these substances."

Source BBC News


Friday, May 31, 2002

Red wine 'protects from colds'

Another health benefit has been attributed to red wine - fighting off the common cold.

According to scientists in Spain, drinking wine, especially red, stops people from developing colds.

Something in wine seems to have a protective effect because the same was not seen with beer and spirits.

The evidence comes from a year long study of 4,000 volunteers.

Experts at five universities found that people who drank more than two glasses of red wine a day had 44% fewer colds than teetotallers.

Drinking one glass of red wine a day also protected against colds, but to a lesser extent.

Source BBC News


White wine good for lungs

Drinking wine - and in particular white varieties - may help to keep lungs healthy, research suggests.

A team from the University at Buffalo has found that drinking wine appears to be linked to better lung function.

The scientists believe that wine may contain certain nutrients that help keep the tissues of the lung in good working order.

The research was carried out on a random sample of 1,555 people from New York.
In each case, researchers carried out lung function tests and collected information about alcohol consumption.

Researcher Dr Holger Schunemann said: "Red wine in moderation has been shown to be beneficial for the heart, but in this case the relationship was stronger for white wine."

Dr Schunemann said it was most likely that white wine contained ingredients called anti-oxidants that stop the creation of harmful molecules called free radicals, which can wreak havoc on the lung tissues.

Source BBC News

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Research says cider 'healthy' drink

Drinking cider may be good for your health, according to research which suggests the drink is rich in antioxidants.

Scientists at Brewing Research International's laboratories in Surrey have found as many antioxidants in cider as red wine.

Antioxidants are thought to help stop cell damage called oxidation, which can contribute to cancer and degenerative diseases like dementia.

Vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene (vitamin A) are all antioxidants.

Red wine and green tea are among foods rich in these compounds.

John Thatcher, of Sandford in Somerset, Chairman of the National Association of Cider Makers, said: "I have spent a lifetime making cider, enjoying a regular glass or two.

Now I can enjoy it all the more knowing it is helping to keep me healthy."

Dr Caroline Walker, a scientist at Brewing Research International, said: "For those who enjoy a glass of cider it is reassuring to know it may be healthy too.

"But it is important that no-one drinks more than the recommended daily intake of alcohol.

Source BBC News

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Thursday, February 28, 2002

Natural defence against cancer

A natural substance found in red wine, mulberries, peanuts and beansprouts may help prevent cancer.

The molecule - called resveratrol - helps to fight the fungus that can blight many crops.

But researchers have discovered that it is also converted in the body to a known anti-cancer agent that can selectively target and destroy cancer cells.

Studies have suggested before that resveratrol might be cancer preventing - but this is the first time that scientists have gained a deeper insight into the underlying mechanism.

The research was carried out by Professor Gerry Potter and his team from Leicester's De Montfort University.

Professor Potter said: "Learning from nature in this way will help in our work to design drugs which are selectively activated in a tumour and can form the basis of anti cancer-treatments.

"Resveratrol is a defensive molecule against fungus in grapes and other crops, and is found at higher levels in those which have not been treated with man-made fungicides."

Source BBC News


Monday, December 31, 2001

Why red wine is healthier

Scientists may have discovered the reason why red wine appears to protect the heart.
Numerous studies have suggested that moderate alcohol drinking helps to reduce the likelihood of heart disease.

The so-called "Mediterranean diet", which includes a larger intake of wine, has been credited with lower rates of heart disease in those countries, despite a higher intake of saturated fats. However, there is no clear evidence that red wine is any better than any other alcoholic drink.

But a team of scientists from Barts and the London School of Medicine, and the Queen Mary University in London, may have found a mechanism which points to the benefits of red wine.
They say it appears to interfere with the production of a body chemical which is vital to the process which clogs up arteries and increases the risk of a heart attack.

Source BBC News

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Sunday, September 30, 2001

Wine prevents repeat heart attack

Scientists say they have found a way for coronary patients to minimise the risk of a second heart attack - drink wine every day.

Previous research has shown that drinking wine in sensible amounts may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

But the new research suggests that it might also be an effective way to reduce the risk for people who have already had one heart attack.

French researchers found that middle-aged men who had had one heart attack and who drank two or more glasses of wine regularly were 50% less likely than non-drinkers to have a second attack.

Dr Michel de Lorgeril, of the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble, France, and colleagues studied 353 men aged 40 to 60 who had just had heart attacks.

There were no significant differences in how severe their heart attacks had been, what drugs they used to treat heart disease or what they ate. The main differences lay in whether the men drank wine.

Between them, the men had 104 cardiovascular complications such as a heart attack or stroke over the next year.

Thirty-six of the complications occurred among men who abstained from alcohol, 34 among men who drank fewer than two glasses of wine a day, 18 among those who drank about two glasses a day, and 16 among men who drank an average of four to five glasses of wine a day.

Source BBC News

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Thursday, May 31, 2001

Apples and tomatoes 'good for lungs'

Scientists have found that if you want to have healthy lungs you should eat apples and tomatoes.
It has been established that eating fresh fruit and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of asthma and chronic lung diseases.
But a new study by Nottingham University suggests that apples and tomatoes may have the biggest beneficial impact.

Researchers quizzed 2,633 adults who had problems with wheezing, asthma or other lung complaints about their diet, and asked them to complete a test designed to measure their lung capacity.

Five a day
They found people who had the greatest lung capacity were those who ate more than five apples a week, or who ate tomatoes at least every other day.

Wheezing was also less common in people who ate a lot of apples.

Apples contain high levels of an antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin which is also found abundantly in onions, tea and red wine, and may be important in protecting the lungs from the harmful effects of atmospheric pollutants and cigarette smoke.

Dr John Harvey, of the British Thoracic Society (BTS), said: "This is an interesting study which shows that 'a tomato and an apple a day' might help people breathe easier.

"We have known for some time that a healthy diet - rich in antioxidants - can have a positive effect on lung function; this is a ripe area for research."

National Asthma Campaign chief medical adviser Dr Martyn Partridge said: "Alteration in the oxidant/anti oxidant ration in the diet can alter susceptibility to asthma and other lung diseases.
"This latest study confirms that regular intake of fresh fruit reduces the risk of developing respiratory disease and represents a simple effective intervention that everyone can adopt to help keep themselves fit."

The research was presented to the American Thoracic Society's annual conference.

Source BBC News

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Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Apple juice 'protects the heart'

An apple juice a day could keep a trip to the heart doctor away, says new research.

A team of researchers at UC Davis School of Medicine in the US have found that drinking apple juice appears to slow down a process that can lead to heart disease.

Compounds in apples and apple juice called phytonutrients act in much the same way that red wine and tea do to delay the break down of LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

When LDL oxidises, or deteriorates in the blood, plaque accumulates along the walls of the coronary artery and causes atherosclerosis (a dangerous thickening of the artery).

Source BBC News

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Saturday, September 30, 2000

Red wine 'can stop herpes'

An ingredient of red wine could prevent the spread of herpes, according to scientists.

Research carried out in the US has found that the compound in red wine, when daubed on infectious sores, can stop a sufferer passing it on and could even lessen the chance of sores developing fully.

The scientists suggest this compound could also be used to treat facial cold sores if rubbed onto the affected area before the sores appear.

Source BBC News


Wednesday, May 31, 2000

Litre of beer 'is good for you'

Researchers have shown that all types of alcohol can help to reduce the risk of heart disease - if you drink it little and often.

The best strategy is to drink up to a litre of beer a day.

Many studies have shown a link between alcohol consumption and reduced levels of coronary heart disease.

However, it is unclear whether the protective effect is confined to specific drinks such as red wine, or relates to the ethanol in all alcoholic drinks.

Dr Martin Bobak and colleagues from the International Centre for Health and Society, University College, London, examined whether beer could protect against heart disease by going to the Czech Republic - a country where beer is almost universally the drink of choice.

Source BBC News

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Sunday, April 30, 2000

Moderate drinking 'protects bones'

A diet rich in calcium - and the occasional glass of wine - could protect some women from dangerous bone-thinning.

Seven units of alcohol a week, equivalent to a glass of wine, half a pint of beer or a measure of spirits every night, can help reduce bone loss at the hip, researchers say.

However, osteoporosis experts have warned that heavy drinkers are actually running a higher risk of the devastating bone condition.

One in three women in the UK suffer from osteoporosis at some point in their lives.

The thinning of the bones can lead to leg, hip and wrist fractures, leaving women permanently disabled.

Source BBC News

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Beer 'may be good for you'

A pint of beer may help protect against heart disease more effectively than red wine or spirits, researchers have found.

While the health benefits of red wine have long been touted by scientists, a letter in medical journal The Lancet suggests that the odd pint may also be a good idea.

Beer contains vitamin B6 which prevents the build up in the body of a chemical called homocysteine - thought to be linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease.

Source BBC News


Friday, December 31, 1999

Alcohol-free wine 'just as healthy'

Removing the alcohol content of red wine does not reduce its health-giving properties, suggest experts.

In fact, the alcohol may actually shorten the benefits.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, measured the amount of substances called catechins in blood plasma.

These are thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Source BBC News

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Sunday, October 31, 1999

Wine drinkers think positive

Positive thinking could be responsible for the health benefits associated with drinking wine, according to a study that found people who drink wine consider themselves healthier.

The researchers in Denmark said it was well established that believing oneself to be healthy leads to a reduced chance of dying from heart disease or other causes.

They looked at drinking habits of more than 12,000 adults as part of the World Health Organisation 1991 Copenhagen Healthy City Survey and asked them how healthy they considered themselves.

Those who drank moderate amounts of wine were more likely to consider themselves healthier while those who drank beer or spirits thought their health was worse.

Source BBC News


Friday, April 30, 1999

Cabernet 'best for the heart'

A doctor has named what he thinks is the best wine for a healthy heart - Cabernet Sauvignon.

Scientists have long suggested that red wine can help cut the risk of heart disease, although the benefits seem to apply only to men over 40 and women after the menopause.

One study, however, suggests people as young as 33 can benefit from moderate alcohol consumption.

Dr Jean-Paul Broustet, of Haut Leveque Hospital in Pessac, southern France, made his claim in the UK medical journal, Heart.

He comes from the Bordeaux region - famed for its production of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
He said the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes had high levels of resveratrol - which increases levels of "good" cholesterol and slows production of "bad" cholesterol.

"Bad" cholesterol - or low density lipoprotein - can block arteries and cause heart disease.

Source BBC News

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Sunday, February 28, 1999

Drink wine and be healthy

Consumers in the United States will soon be seeing messages on wine bottles praising the health benefits of drinking wine.

The federal authorities haveapproved the use of a voluntary label alluding to the positive effects of drinking wine in moderation.

The message will appear alongside a government-mandated warning about the detrimental effects of alcohol consumption.

Winemakers in California, who have long sought a way to distance themselves from products like cigarettes, have welcomed the new guidelines.

But the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence fears the message could be taken as encouragement to drink more, with potentially disastrous consequences for people's health.

Source BBC News

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Sunday, January 31, 1999

A daily dose of wine could improve the brain

A glass and a half of wine a day could help improve the little grey cells and stop the progression of brain disorders, according to new research.

Scientists at the Human Institute at the University of Milan say a chemical produced by wine could help a brain enzyme to function by up to seven fold.

According to the New Scientist, Alberto Bertelli and his colleagues have found that the chemical resveratrol, found in grapes and wine which fights infection in vines, helps the enzyme Map-kinase to regenerate neural cells.

They tested the chemical on human neural cells in laboratory conditions and found it made them grow extensions which helped them to connect up with each other.

Source BBC News


Thursday, December 31, 1998

It's for medicinal purposes, honest...

A large shot of whisky can help protect against heart disease, scientists have claimed.

Researchers claim that drinking the equivalent of three or four pub measures of the spirit can boost the body's defences against disease.

However, the bad news is that scientists found that the benefit was achieved by drinking just once a week.

The research, led by the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen and part sponsored by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, found that both whisky and red wine helped to protect against coronary heart disease by raising the body's level of anti-oxidants.

However, it was the whisky drinkers who absorbed a greater proportion of the "phenol" chemicals that provide the protective effect.

The findings, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followed research on nine healthy men aged 23 to 47, free from clinical disorders and taking no vitamin or mineral supplements.

Source BBC News


Wednesday, September 30, 1998

'Lower cancer risk' for wine drinkers

Wine drinkers might be at a lower risk of contracting cancer than beer or spirit drinkers, Danish scientists claim.

A substance found in grapes, called resveratrol, is thought to inhibit the progression of cancer.
The research team from the Copenhagen Centre for Prospective Population Studies believes this may explain why moderate drinkers of red or white wine have a lower incidence of cancer of the upper digestive tract than those who consume other types of alcoholic drinks.

Source BBC News