The popular story of how low-carb diets work goes something like this: Reducing your carbohydrate...
Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
I keep hearing news stories about how alcohol is good for you, but I wonder how that figures in with the Primal Blueprint. What’s your take? Can I have that beer when I come home from a long hard day at work and not feel guilty?
It’s true that we tend to hear a lot about a given piece of advice publicized again and again with a slightly different spin from varied studies. While researchers will often pursue subjects that are “timely,” I sense the media (popular and even medical journals to some extent) is more the influence in this case.
Now this is some smart fuel we can live with! Step aside kale, move over broccoli: the best way to ward off a wintry cold is to drink red wine.
You’re not reading that wrong. Not one, but two major studies have just reported evidence that those who drink wine moderately – no more than two glasses a day – have better immunity and resistance to infectious cold viruses than those who do not drink. This benefit is cancelled out if you’re a smoker, however.
Of course, red wine is also healthy because it is rich in resveratrol, a vital antioxidant. To learn Mark’s great and creative ways to enjoy wine more often, read How to Drink More Wine and Eat More Chocolate Every Day.
polifemus Flickr Photo (CC)
Heart burn is a bit of an umbrella term we use informally. We’ve probably all experienced the isolated case of heart burn or indigestion, but if you’re dealing with chronic discomfort, it’s time to take a look at your diet and lifestyle. Also be aware that heart burn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) are not the same thing, although prime time drug commercials would love to convince you otherwise. (GERD is – in my opinion – essentially an invented condition, though technically it’s a combination of chronic heart burn and acid reflux. I would argue that in the majority of cases, lifestyle is to blame. I’m just not aware of any genetic component behind heart burn, acid reflux, and “GERD”. Nevertheless, it’s serious – let it get out of control and you risk major esophageal damage, even cancer.)
A new study out today confirms the antibacterial power of both red and white wine. Apparently, researchers have proven that wine destroys the bacteria responsible for cavities and throat infections. Interestingly, it’s not the alcohol that kills the germs, but rather acids in the wine.
Imagine the possibilities here:
– Stop fighting the nightly battle with your toddler and the toothbrush. Just get ’em tossed instead. Sure, they’ll be a little hungover at preschool, but you can never be too careful when it comes to your child’s dental health.
– Until cough syrup comes in a believable-tasting grape, wine has won points for flavor. Now we see that “Grandpa’s medicine” really is medicine. Because if you’re calling in sick, you might as well be drunk.
No wonder bums have such great teeth! I’m being facetious, of course. I don’t know if replacing your toothbrush with a wine glass is such a bright idea.
The study was a test-tube run, and when the active acids were removed and tested on their own, they killed germs better than the wine. So while wine is a naturally antibacterial beverage, other properties in the wine probably cancel out any benefits. The study also illustrates the fact that just about anything can be promoted as having a health benefit.
For example, because wine contains the antioxidant resveratrol, it’s touted as being healthy. While there’s plenty of evidence to suggest modest amounts of alcohol may exert some protective cardiovascular benefit, to reap serious antioxidant benefit, you’d have to drink enough jugs to put Gallo out of business. I think wine, in moderation, has healthful properties. But don’t expect wine to save your arteries if you’re not also living a healthy lifestyle. You’re better off eating fresh fruits and vegetables and supplementing with a multivitamin that contains antioxidants.
The moral here is that even scientists can justify that Dionysian dinner tab as a business expense.
[tags] health benefits of wine, antioxidants [/tags]
How can you turn this down?
Health, in my view, is really about enjoyment and quality of life. It’s not all celery sticks and cardio – far from it. Dark chocolate and red wine shouldn’t be consumed with the reckless abandon I sincerely hope you reserve for vegetables, but they are reasonably healthy indulgences. Here’s how to indulge a little more (am I looking out for you or what?).
My editor, Sara, shares this tip: wash and chop up 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes. (Don’t bother with that canned stuff if you want the healthiest possible sauce. This is easy.) Add in half your normal amount of water or broth (you’ll see why in a second). Next add several fresh garlic cloves and any other spices or herbs you fancy in your tomato sauce. The antioxidant boost: after the tomatoes have simmered and stewed for a while, pour in 1 cup of red wine. Between the cooked tomatoes, garlic and wine, you’ll have a sauce so good, you’ll want to drink it and forget about whatever you were going to pour it on (better not be pasta).
Buy the darkest, most bitter, pure chocolate you can find. Even mass chocolate manufacturers like Hershey’s are pushing darker and darker chocolates. You can find upwards of 70% these days without breaking a sweat. Melt a bar in a saucepan with a big dash of cayenne pepper, a generous pinch of oregano or marjoram, a touch of olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of sea salt. You now have a very interesting and incredible reduction to drizzle over your pork chops. Just trust me.
A necessary word of caution: I am not recommending a future career as a lush here. But you might enjoy splitting up that nightly glass of red into two small glasses (emphasis on small) and having a splash of wine at lunch. Many cultures around the world enjoy a little swill at noon. Obviously, this won’t work for everyone depending on schedules and workplace expectations. And, if alcohol is something that you tend to indulge too much in, then skip this tip (matter of fact, skip this post).
Chocolate for breakfast? Sure. This tip is for the morning vice crowd. If you want whiter teeth and you never seem to eat anything for breakfast, tackle both issues by eating a piece of dark chocolate instead of coffee. You’ll get some fat and caffeine to nourish your brain, quell your starving stomach and stimulate your nerves. I think some sliced tomatoes or scrambled eggs are both obviously better ideas for your mornings, but if you’re a coffee junkie and you have trouble ingesting a morning dose of calories, hey, I say work with the problem instead of fighting it. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so if you’re trying to lose weight or if you need to
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Both wine and chocolate are in the news!
Glug, Glug? Yeah, Yeah
Yet another alcohol study. This one is all over the news: drinking decreases brain size. To be clear, for each level of consumption, the scientists found a .25 percent shrink. (That’s a fourth of one percent, not twenty-five percent…whew!). The levels were defined as the following number of drinks per person per week: 0 drinks, 1-7 drinks, 8-14 drinks, and 14 or more drinks weekly. In other words, the heaviest drinkers of all lost just over a percentage point in brain size.
We’re not big on alcohol around these parts, but this is one of those relative nutrition topics Mark takes with a grain of salt. Like chocolate and coffee, wine is one of those “marginally nutritious” issues that is endlessly debatable and ultimately not a huge factor in health, in the sense that there is probably some benefit to be gained from reasonable consumption thanks to the antioxidants, but don’t expect any miracles. It’s important to put these sensational stories in perspective: a lot of alcohol is bad, a little, on balance, is probably good; but ultimately, water, exercise and a daily salad is more significant anyway!
New England Journal of Medicineyness Reports
There’s a big ruckus over the bill in Congress that is seeking to limit pharmaceutical drug advertising during prime time television (enough with the puppies and flowers already). This is an excellent read for those who are interested. It’s freedom of speech versus direct-to-consumer drug advertising. Oh, the Skittles. What do you think?
Web it out:
It’s not just Cracker Jack’s that include a free prize!