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The Health Benefits of Resveratrol

Although it is most widely known for its benefits for the heart, red wine has benefits against cancer and other age-related diseases. Researchers in Denmark recently looked at 25,000 people to find out what drinking alcohol does to mortality and discovered that wine drinkers had significantly lower mortality from both coronary heart disease and cancer than did non-wine drinkers. Recent studies indicate that red wine may also be important for those at risk for Alzheimer's, or those who already have it since both heart and brain need protection against a common enemy, oxidized fat.

Chemists took wine apart years ago to find out what makes it tick. Basically, it contains a host of plant compounds. Unfortunately, resveratrol and some of the other beneficial components got shelved as "toxicants," and nobody paid much attention to them until a scientist tried to figure out why the French, especially those in the South of France, eat inexcusable amounts of heart-stopping, artery-clogging saturated fats, smoke Gauloise cigarettes and exercise very little, yet have one of the lowest heart attack rates in the world.

It has been suggested that regular consumption of red wine may explain this phenomenon, which has been dubbed the "French paradox". The secret appears to be the grapes from which the wine is made. The grape seed contains proanthocyanidins, the flesh of the grape contains vitamin C, and the skin of red grapes contains resveratrol, which has anticancer, anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant properties.

You may take resveratrol in supplement form, or you may enjoy eating red grapes and drinking wine (in moderation, of course). Long distance travelers may take resveratrol one hour before and every four hours during a flight or car journey to reduce the risk of deep-vein thrombosis. The grape diet is used as a cleansing and elimination diet, and as a means of providing a hefty dose of antioxidants.

So, is it time for a glass of red wine? Maybe not…

Dr. Merola, author of Dr. Mercola's Total Health Program: The Proven Plan to Prevent Disease and Premature Aging, Optimize Weight and Live Longer warns: "While red wine may appear to provide some great health benefits, I do not advise drinking it at all, as I am convinced that the alcohol itself is actually a poison and will unbalance your hormones. Also, drinking two or more glasses (of wine or any alcoholic beverage for that matter) may offset the benefit and actually increase your risk of certain cancers. So if you absolutely insist on drinking red wine, check on the growing conditions of the grapes used and how the wine is made.

"Additionally, if the wine isn't made with organic grapes, it may not contain resveratrol, which rules out the benefits you seek. It is also important to understand that consuming large amounts of wine or grapes — which have a lower concentration of antioxidants than wine — will likely increase insulin levels and eventually have a negative impact on your health. Thus, it may be most beneficial to eat grape skins and pass up the meat of the grape, which has no resveratrol but a lot of extra fructose."

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