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Wine Before Bed Can Make You Lose Weight, Here’s Why

Wine Before Bed Can Make You Lose Weight, Here’s Why

If you have taken a glass or two of wine at bedtime in the past and felt a little guilty about it — rejoice! New research has found that this ritual might actually be good for your health — and even help you achieve your weight loss goals.

What the Studies Found

Two separate studies, one from Washington University and one from Harvard, both found a link between regular, moderate alcohol consumption and a healthy body weight.

In the study out of Harvard, scientists looked at almost 20,000 women who were of a healthy body weight for 13 years and studied them for factors like weight gain, physical activity, and alcohol consumption. Researchers concluded that “compared with non-drinkers, initially normal weight women who consumed a light to moderate amount of alcohol gained less weight and reduced their risk of obesity.”

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The Washington University study, which was performed on overweight female mice, found that the mice who were given extract of resveratrol, an active ingredient in red wine, produced more “brown” fat cells; these fat cells, as opposed to white fat cells, make it easier to lose weight and keep it off. While this is not as conclusive as a human study, it does at least indicate that resveratrol has, as the researchers noted, “beneficial anti-obesity effects.”

Scientists from both studies attribute these findings to the resveratrol in wine. This much-studied compound appears to be able to curb the appetite naturally so that fewer calories are consumed without having to suffer through hunger pains. Resveratrol also appears to be able to have a positive effect on fat cells by preventing them from storing even more fat.

The Studies in Context

These studies are part of a growing body of evidence that wine-drinking might actually be beneficial for those who are trying to shed those extra pounds. Several recent studies have linked wine or alcohol consumption to a healthier weight:

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  • The University of Denmark published a study which looked at drinking habits versus abdominal girth and found that regular drinkers tended to have the smallest waistlines.
  • A study on overweight or obese laboratory mice found that the animals given an extract from pinot noir grapes not only lost weight but had lower blood sugars than mice who did not receive this supplementation.

Other Health Benefits of Resveratrol

Resveratrol itself has also been studied on its own in order to understand its benefits better, and apart from helping with weight loss, there are many other good reasons to make sure you are getting enough of it in your diet. For one thing, it appears to be cardio-protective, meaning that it helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease. This is because it can lower both high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which are major risk factors for heart conditions.

It also increases the sensitivity of your cells to insulin and prevents or treats insulin resistance, which not only makes it easier to lose weight but could lower your risk of diabetes as well.

Finally, several studies have shown that it can help with, prevent, or treat age-related memory loss, and the Alzheimer’s Association notes that several studies are underway to see how this compound can help improve mental function.

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A Few Things to Consider

It is important to note, however, that these health benefits, as far as we know, only apply to wine (and mostly red wine, at that) due to its high resveratrol content. This is not a license to go and drink excessively, as this beverage is both high in sugar and in calories — and is also linked to problems like liver damage if it becomes a long-term habit. It has also been shown that excessive drinking can actually raise blood pressure and blood sugar levels as well.

So what is a moderate amount? According to the Mayo Clinic, a serving of alcohol is 5 ounces of wine. A moderate amount is considered to be two drinks daily for a man and one for a woman. Also, moderate drinking is most effective when it is part of other sensible lifestyle habits, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management.

These studies are encouraging, as they show that simple habits like regular wine consumption can be helpful for people wanting to achieve a healthy body weight. And the extra health benefits that resveratrol provides, such as better heart health and brain function, make it doubly attractive.  So — within reason — drink up!  These regular glasses of wine can make the challenge of weight loss easier to overcome.

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Featured photo credit: Aliis Sinisalu via unsplash.com

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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