Monday, April 11, 2011

Benefits of red

Red wine stops weight gain

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HURRAH! New research suggests red wine is good for your waistline as well as your heart.
Ever wondered why French women - who notoriously eat a diet full of pastry, cheese and wine - look so good and have one of the longest life expectancies in the world? Dubbed “the French paradox”, scientists have spent decades trying to get to the bottom of this seemingly unfair scenario. While it’s hard to find scientific proof, it has been theorised that France’s high red wine consumption is a primary factor.
 Farewell, fat
Women who drink a glass or two of alcohol daily – in particular red wine – gain less weight than non-drinkers, according to a recent American study.
Keeping tabs on the drinking habits of 20,000 women over the course of 13 years, researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who didn’t drink any alcohol gained the most weight. Women who enjoyed one to two glasses of wine a day were 30 per cent less likely to be overweight than the non drinkers.

One theory is the livers of regular drinkers break down alcohol by turning extra energy into heat, not fat. If a woman consumes 120 calories from a glass of wine, so the theory goes, most of it will be burned off. But if she eats pizza, more of the calories will morph into fat.The research took into account the participants’ age, smoking status, physical activity and body mass index and compared women with similar backgrounds and lifestyles.
“There is substantial evidence that wine in moderation will not make you put on weight; the trick is to keep the dose small and regular,” says Dr Erik Skovenborg a Danish GP and author of Wine And Health – Myths And Facts.
Disease prevention
Skovenborg says wine is very healthy: “A moderate consumption of wine is also associated with the reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease, cerebral thrombosis, type two diabetes, dementia, gall bladder stones and kidney stones.”
Sydney GP and media commentator Dr Ginni Mansberg agrees: “We don’t get why wine has health benefits, but it does. It’s mainly taken from anecdotal evidence, but teetotallers have poorer health than people who drink small amounts of wine.”
Professor Lindsay Brown from the University of Southern Queensland says wine is high in antioxidants, often referred to as the “elixir of life”.
“Evidence shows low concentrations of alcohol improve cardiac function, suggesting both red and white wine would be beneficial,” Professor Brown says. “Red wines contain a range of other chemicals, such as resveratrol, present in lower amounts in white wine, that have been shown to improve heart function.”
The social boost
In 2008, American entrepreneur Christine Trice started the Facebook group OMG I So Need A Glass of Wine Or I’m Gonna Sell My Kids after trying to make a work call from home while her children screamed in the background.
Originally starting the group “for laughs”, she struck a chord; she now has a fan page, a dedicated website and more than 200,000 followers. She says the group isn’t so much about a shared love of alcohol, rather it’s about connecting with other women.
“I love wine based more on the experience that I’m having at the moment. This group has been my outlet for good times and bad,” Trice says.
Dr Anthony Grant, director of the University of Sydney Coaching Psychology Unit, says having the odd glass of wine can even help improve your quality of life.
“Research shows a moderate consumption of alcohol can be very useful in facilitating relaxation and lubricating social occasions,” Dr Grant says. “Having a drink to relax is really useful and an important way to signal the switching off of work and other tasks.”
However, he warns the boundaries between work and relaxation are very blurred for home workers – generally women – so it’s important to be careful there isn’t too much reliance on alcohol to signify the end of the day.

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