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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 January 21, 2020

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

How to Self-Taught Effectively

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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