Category Archives: Red Wine

Flavanols in cocoa may reverse age-related memory loss

cocoa-beans-big-SSWe honestly don’t know many people who don’t love chocolate. And we know that there are some important health benefits related to dark chocolate, especially — high levels of antioxidants, lowered blood pressure, and protection against sun damage to the skin, to name a few.

If you’re looking for yet another reason, a new study suggests that a natural compound found in cocoa, tea and some vegetables can reverse age-related memory loss.

The findings suggest that the compound increases connectivity and, subsequently, blood flow in a region of the brain critical to memory, the researchers said.

The study found that flavanols reverse mild memory loss in older adults. Using brain scans and memory tests, the latest study built on previous work showing that flavanols extracted from cocoa beans had improved neuronal connections in mice’s dentate gyrus, a part of the brain involved in memory formation.

But hold that chocolate bar. The researchers also warn that the compound found in cocoa exists only in minuscule amounts in the average chocolate bar compared with the amount used in the study, so gorging on chocolate in the name of health and improving one’s memory could backfire.

“It would make a lot of people happy, but it would also make them unhealthy,” Scott A. Small, a professor of neurology and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Taub Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, said Friday.

Small said that even more important, the new study offers the first direct evidence that memory deteriorates with age because of changes in the dentate gyrus, a region of the hippocampus. Previous studies had shown a link between changes in this region of the brain and normal, age-related memory loss, but the Columbia University study asserts a causal link.

“It more firmly establishes that this is the anatomical source of age-related memory loss,” Small, the study’s senior author, said. He said the study also offered yet more evidence that diet and healthy lifestyles that increase blood flow to the brain can slow or reverse age-related cognitive decline.

The study involved 37 healthy subjects who ranged in age from 50 to 69. On a random basis, they were given either a high-flavanol diet, consuming 900 milligrams a day, or a low flavanol diet, consuming 10mg per day. Brain scans, which measure blood volume in the dentate gyrus, and memory tests were used to evaluate the effect of the diet. Small said the typical candy bar contains about 40mg of flavanols.

Researchers said that if a person had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months, on average, that person’s memory would function more like a 30- or 40-year-old’s. The researchers also cautioned that more work is needed because of the study’s small sample size.

The compounds appear to enhance connectivity and metabolic activity in the dentate gyrus. Aging appears to reduce the synapses, or connections, between neurons in that part of the brain. That decline, however, is not related to severe memory loss and cell death in Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, Small said.

While it doesn’t appear that we can reverse age-related memory loss with chocolate alone (moderation is key to enjoying its health benefits), FoodFacts.com wants to point out that green tea, apples, red grapes, red wine and pomegranates are all fine sources of flavanols. There are many ways to make sure we’re getting the benefits of flavanols through our diet. And for chocolate lovers, well — it’s certainly another great reason to indulge — in moderation, of course — in our favorite sweet treat!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/compound-in-chocolate-found-to-reverse-age-related-memory-loss-study-finds/2014/10/26/cee91aac-5bcb-11e4-bd61-346aee66ba29_story.html

Good news for our ears … red wine and red grapes can protect us from hearing loss

FoodFacts.com has been following recent research that’s pointed out the health benefits of red wine. In moderation, red wine and certain foods which contain a substance called resveratrol seem to offer various protections for our overall health.

Today we read some more news coming out of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan offering more information on resveratrol’s possible connection to protecting the body from hearing loss and cognitive decline.

Researchers conducted a laboratory experiment on rats. They wanted to determine whether the rodents would experience the effects of noise-induced hearing loss if they consumer resveratrol prior to extended periods of listening to loud noises. Specifically, the study focused on how resveratrol influences bioinflammation. That’s the body’s response to injuries. It’s also suspected of being the cause of a variety of different health problems, like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and aging – as well as hearing loss. Resveratrol seems to have a protective effect on the inflammatory process.

The study was designed to measure the effect of a substance called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a protein that is important in the inflammatory process in the body. What they discovered is that COX-2 increases after a certain amount of overexposure to excessive noise. Additionally, it was found that resveratrol had a significant effect on the inhibition of that increase. The rats who had consumed the resveratrol had less evidence of noise-induced hearing loss.

Almost 20% of the U.S. population has some hearing loss. As they age, that loss becomes progressively worse. Increasingly, our military suffers from noise-induced hearing difficulties. More than 12% of the soldiers returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan show significant hearing problems upon their arrival home.

Resveratrol occurs naturally in red grapes. It is found in its largest concentrations in red wine. It is also present in white wine and white grapes, but is not has heavily concentrated. It’s also worth noting that blueberries, peanuts and dark chocolate also contain resveratrol.

It’s well known that inflammation is a cause of and has influence on a variety of health conditions. FoodFacts.com is encouraged by the recent research that’s focusing on how resveratrol that naturally occurs in real food can influence inflammation in the body. Red wine, in moderation, seems to have positive health effects – as do the many other food choices that contain this powerful substance.

You can read more about this fascinating study here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256802.php

February is National Heart Month and Valentine’s Day – honor both with some red wine and dark chocolate!

FoodFacts.com wants to acknowledge that February is National Heart Month! And Valentine’s Day – the holiday of hearts – is this coming Thursday. So we felt that it would be appropriate to inform our community tonight that you can celebrate both with some dark chocolate and red wine while knowing that, in moderation, you’re actually making good choices for your heart health!

Susan Ofria, a registered dietitian at the Loyola University Health System in Melrose Park confirms that both are actually good health choices. In moderation, both have positive components that are actually beneficial for your heart. Both red wine and dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher contain resveratrol. This has been found to lower blood sugar. Red wine also contains catechins which may help to boost “good” HDL cholesterol.

So this Valentine’s Day, give yourself permission to enjoy both and give your romantic heart and your physical heart the benefits of your own enjoyment!

Ofria also makes some recommendations for heart-healthy foods you can enjoy during National Heart Month – and all year long!

Red Wine – all varieties of red wines contain resveratrol and catechins. Enjoy them in moderation.

Dark chocolate, 70 percent or higher cocoa content – as long as it’s dark chocolate with the specified cocoa content, it contains resveratrol and flavonoids.

Salmon and tuna – specifically white, albacore tuna, are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Flaxseeds – brown or yellow ground flaxseeds are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and phytoestrogens.

Oatmeal – it’s good source of soluble fiber, niacin, folate and potassium.

Black or kidney beans – both are a good source of niacin, folate, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, soluble fiber.

Walnuts and almonds – additional sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber and heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

Blueberries/cranberries/raspberries/strawberries – berries are high in beta carotene and lutein, anthocyanin, ellagic acid (a polyphenol), vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber.

Don’t you just love it when we get healthy permission to indulge in food and drink? FoodFacts.com certainly does!  This Valentine’s Day, make sure your chocolate is dark and your wine is red and share a romantic moment with your loved one. And then, after that, remember to incorporate this great list of heart-healthy foods into your diet. Not just during National Heart month, but all year long to play an active role in your own good heart health!

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211134742.htm