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Cheers to That! 7 Unexpected Benefits of Red Wine

Cheers to That! 7 Unexpected Benefits of Red Wine

Kicking back with a glass of red wine is a great way to wind down after a long day. Researchers have long touted vino’s heart healthy value, but what if I told you there are several other health benefits to sipping on red wine every now and again? Here are 7 other benefits of red wine that you probably didn’t know about.

1. Protects your smile.

When it comes to red wine and your teeth, it has been labeled as a big fat stainer, which can be true. However, evidence shows that wine also protects your teeth from bacteria. Proanthocyanidins (flavonoids with antioxidants) in red wine help prevent bacteria from sticking to your pearly whites, thus preventing cavities and plaque buildup. Now, that’s a reason to smile.

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2. Aids digestion.

A glass of red wine with your meal may do more than just ease conversation. Polyphenols in wine help your gut lessen the harmful effects of certain chemicals before they are distributed throughout the rest of your system. They also tell the body to release nitric oxide, which relaxes (stretches) the walls of your stomach as it fills with food, helps counteract effects of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and improves digestion.

3. Whittle your waistline.

Red wine not only helps make you feel more satisfied and suppress your appetite (so you eat less), but studies say it also can halt the growth of fat cells through a substance called piceatannol. Basically, the substance stops the fat cells from fully forming or maturing into full-blown fat. The result? A lesser chance of becoming obese.

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4. Strengthen your bones.

Recent studies show that moderately consuming red wine helps maintain strong, healthy bones. This connection is especially evident in the case of postmenopausal women. Stronger bones mean a lesser chance of developing osteoporosis. However, it’s a balance; over-consumption has the reverse effect and can make bones weaker and more brittle. Remember: moderation is key!

5. Fight a cold.

It’s true: the high levels of antioxidant-rich polyphenols impede the multiplication of viruses once they’re in your system. It also helps lower your susceptibility to flu and cold viruses in the first place. According to a study in Spain, individuals who drank two or more glasses a day had a 44% lower incidence of colds than non-drinkers.

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6. Prevent cancer.

Perhaps some of the most exciting research reveals red wine’s cancer-fighting powers, thanks to the presence of polyphenols (especially resveratrol). Polyphenols, found in grapes, have some incredible antioxidant attributes that include protection from the free radicals that damage cells and DNA and lead to cancer. In particular, resveratrol has proven to impede the growth of cancer cells and incidence of tumors in studies with animals. Researchers are hoping to use this knowledge in future cancer prevention and treatment.

7. Live longer.

Not only does resveratrol potentially prevent cancer, it might also fight aging. In a fascinating new study on worms, resveratrol was shown to extend lifespan by 60%! It accomplishes this by both preventing disease (such as cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes) and by triggering the so-called “longevity gene” (SIRT1) which further boosts overall health and wellness. Scientists have high hopes for the future of resveratrol in extending human lifespan and vitality.

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These are just six of the benefits of red wine—there is other research that suggests it helps lower cholesterol, prevent the onset of dementia, and even promote better lung function. Just remember that these health returns are reaped from moderate consumption (aim for around 1 glass a night for women, 1-2 for men) and that extreme consumption actually reverses many of these benefits.

As long as you keep this in mind, sit back, relax, and keep on pouring!

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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