This week I am continuing our 9 week Blue Zones Series. For 9 weeks we are covering the 9 different patterns that help centenarians live and thrive longer.
If you missed last week's blog on the Power Of Family, go check it out!
>>Read It Here<<
I will start by saying this topic is not one that I know a ton about. I will do my best to give you a thorough overview by using the information coming from the Blue Zones but out of all of the patterns, this is the topic I know the least about.
Alcohol. Something that many people think is inherently bad or they don't care and just enjoy drinking it.
There doesn't seem to be a good consensus on this but we do know one thing.... Binge drinking often is not good for you.
But there is some research on alcohol actually having health benefits. Well, red wine specifically.
Alcohol is not a big part of the Blue Zones but we do see it, especially in Sardinia, Italy.
In Sardinia, they drink locally made (usually individually made) fresh wine. Historically this was also the case. Data found from the 1930s on nutrition found that Sardinians drank about 7 litres of wine per month.
So how does red wine contribute to our health?
In Sardinia, their red wine is made from "the sun-stressed Grenache grape" according to Dan Buettner in The Blue Zones Solution. This grape (and many others) are loaded with anti-oxidants.
Of the anti-oxidants, two, in particular, provide some great health benefits. Proanthocyanidins have been shown to reduce oxidative damage and help prevent heart disease and cancer. Resveratrol has been linked to benefits such as helping against inflammation and blood clotting and helping reduce heart disease and cancer.
Furthermore, resveratrol also helped animal test subjects live longer (this study has not been replicated in humans).
Anti-oxidants are extremely powerful nutrients!
Red wines contain anti-bacterial components and have been used to treat stomach irritation and digestive disorders. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of infection from a common bacteria generally found in our stomachs called Helicobacter pylori.
Having a healthier gut microbiome has been linked to "better heart health and metabolism". This fact is still debated though as those who drink red wine in moderation may also live a healthier lifestyle overall such as in Sardinia where they eat mostly from their gardens and get a lot of exercise.
A study found that people who suffer from these conditions saw great improvements from consuming low to moderate amounts of red wine due to the prebiotic effect from the polyphenols contained in red wine.
The resveratrol contained in the skins of grapes has been used to help control the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. The researchers in a 2015 study suggest that the "ethanol in wine plays a crucial role in metabolizing glucose".
Research also suggests that resveratrol helps improve systolic blood pressure. In a 2006 study researchers reported that "procyanidins help keep the blood vessels healthy." This study also identified that the content of procyanidins is higher in wines from France and Sardinia, which could contribute to the longevity of the region.
There is a fair bit of research on this topic however the piece that tends to be missing is the why. We know that red wine and its components help in these ways but we aren't sure why this is the case.
The key here though is moderation.
The health benefits came from drinking small amounts, one to two 3oz glasses per day at the most.
I found this topic interesting to dive into as most health experts warn away from alcohol consumption but I think the idea here is the same with everything else; Balance.
It's not about being perfect 100% of the time. I feel like that is not living life. What we see in the Blue Zones are people who are living their lives and loving their lives. None of the topics are ever perfect or exact all the time but everything in moderation and balanced out.
So if you don't want to drink wine grab these compounds in a supplement if you do then I have good news for you, consistently the research shows benefits to your heart health from having that glass of red wine!
So? What did you think? Send an email to [email protected] and let me know!
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