WINE AND RESVERATROL: GREAT FOR THE HEART!

Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage.
While the news about red wine might sound great if you enjoy a glass of red wine with your evening meal, doctors are wary of encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol. That’s because too much alcohol can have many harmful effects on your body.
Still, many doctors agree that something in red wine appears to help your heart. It’s possible that antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have heart-healthy benefits.
How is red wine heart healthy?
Red wine seems to have even more heart-healthy benefits than do other types of alcohol, but it’s possible that red wine isn’t any better than beer, white wine or liquor for heart health. There’s still no clear evidence that red wine is better than other forms of alcohol when it comes to possible heart-healthy benefits.
Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. A polyphenol called resveratrol is one substance in red wine that’s gotten attention.
Resveratrol in red wine
Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots.
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Video: Blood Circulation







Most research on resveratrol has been done on animals, not people. Research in mice given resveratrol suggests that the antioxidant might also help protect them from obesity and diabetes, both of which are strong risk factors for heart disease. However, those findings were reported only in mice, not in people. In addition, to get the same dose of resveratrol used in the mice studies, a person would have to drink more than 1,000 liters of red wine every day. Research in pigs has shown that resveratrol may improve heart function and increase the body’s ability to use insulin. Again, however, these benefits have not been tested in people.
Some research shows that resveratrol could be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. More research is needed before it’s known whether resveratrol was the cause for the reduced risk. However, one study showed that resveratrol may actually reduce the positive effect of exercise on the heart in older men. It’s also important to know that resveratrol’s effects only last a short time after drinking red wine, so its effects may not last in the long term.

ANTIOXIDANTS: KEY FOR LONGEVITY!

When it comes to boosting antioxidant intake, recent research indicates there’s little benefit from taking diet supplements. A better way, according to a report in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, is eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods.
Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotene, lycopene, lutein and many other substances may play a role in helping to prevent diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration. Antioxidants are thought to help because they can neutralize free radicals, which are toxic byproducts of natural cell metabolism. The human body naturally produces antioxidants but the process isn’t 100 percent effective and that effectiveness declines with age.
Research is increasingly showing that those who eat antioxidant-rich foods reap health benefits. Foods, rather than supplements, may boost antioxidant levels because foods contain an unmatchable array of antioxidant substances. A supplement may contain a single type of antioxidant or even several. However, foods contain thousands of types of antioxidants, and it’s not known which of these substances confer the benefits.
Some of the better food sources of antioxidants are:
-Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries
-Beans: Small red beans and kidney, pinto and black beans
-Fruits: Many apple varieties (with peels), avocados, cherries, green and red pears, fresh or dried plums, pineapple, oranges, and kiwi
-Vegetables: Artichokes, spinach, red cabbage, red and white potatoes (with peels), sweet potatoes and broccoli
-Beverages: Green tea, coffee, red wine and many fruit juices
-Nuts: Walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds
-Herbs: Ground cloves, cinnamon or ginger, dried oregano leaf and turmeric powder
-Grains: Oat-based products
-Dessert: Dark chocolate






INCREDIBLE BENEFITS OF DARK CHOCOLATE!!!

The dark variety of chocolate, far from being a health peril, is actually a nourishing and wholesome food for the body. According to the latest medical research studies, the health benefits of dark chocolate may truly boost human health and provide a variety of valuable health benefits.
Dark chocolate is enriched with many healthy compounds, medically known as flavonoids, that act as traditional curative remedies for treating various body ailments and offering various health benefits from dark chocolate.
Some of the many health benefits of dark chocolate are as follows:
-Blood Pressure: Dark chocolate is rich in minerals such as magnesium and copper. These minerals aid in regulating normal blood pressure and subsequently maintaining proper heartbeat levels.
-Stress: Eating a delicious piece of chocolate can possibly reduce stress levels; it works by stimulating the production of endorphins that may give rise to a happy feeling. In addition, the dark chocolate variety contains stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine, which are major stimulants.
-Blood Circulation: Eating dark chocolate not only relaxes the body, but also makes the blood vessels more flexible. It also boosts the functioning of the endothelial cells that line the blood cells. It also decreases the risk of developing innumerable cardiovascular diseases.
-Lowers Cholesterol Levels: Dark chocolate has been medically proven to reduce the bad cholesterol levels in the human body significantly, up to 10-12%.







-Boosting Immunity: The two kinds of flavonoids present in chocolates are mainly Catechins and Epicatechins. Dark chocolate has a high level of Catechins, which boosts the human body’s immune system and possibly prevents major chronic ailments.
-Good for Anemia: The flavonoid compounds are useful in treating anemic patients as well as those having poor dietary habits.
-Rich in Antioxidants: Dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant. Reports from the National Institute of Food & Nutrition Research in Italy suggests that these antioxidants actually neutralize free radicals and other dangerous molecules that may be potential health hazards, causing diseases like cancer, premature aging, and heart disease.
-Cures Depression: The serotonin level in dark chocolate may act as an effective anti-depressant. Dark chocolate contains serotonin, which has nearly identical qualities of anti-depressants.
-Antioxidants: The antioxidants present in dark chocolate helps in fighting against premature aging. The antioxidants also help in fighting against heart diseases.
-Endorphins: One of the most exciting health benefits of dark chocolate is that it helps in enhancing the production of endorphins, which result in the generation of feelings of pleasure in human beings.

REBOOST YOUR BRAIN WITH SUPERFOODS!

There is a proven link between what we put into our mouths and how well we think and feel. Our mood, ability to learn and memory are all affected by the type of foods we eat. Our brains rely on a steady supply of essential nutrients from our diet, blood sugar and oxygen to function properly. Eating a well-balanced diet abundant in these nutrients helps improve memory and boost brain power and may also reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The brain is made up of 70 per cent fat and requires essential fatty acids (omega-3s) from the food we eat to maintain healthy function and development. Omega-3 fats are primarily found in oily fish such as salmon, trout and mackerel, flaxseed oil and nuts and seeds.
Protein is another important nutrient essential for proper brain function. Good-quality, low-fat protein is needed to supply our brains with essential amino acids to make neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine (needed for good memory) and serotonin (involved in mood). Foods such as eggs, legumes, tofu, organic chicken and lean meat are good choices.
Antioxidants, which include vitamins C, A and beta-carotene, are important for boosting brain power and protecting brain cells against free radical damage. Fruits and vegetables, especially red- and orange-coloured varieties, are full of antioxidant goodness.
Complex carbohydrates found in wholegrain cereals and breads (oats, rye, brown rice, quinoa) are good sources of energy, fibre and B vitamins. These foods provide your brain with a slow and steady supply of energy-giving glucose, without causing a sharp spike in blood sugar levels.






6 SUPERFOODS FOR YOUR HUNGRY BRAIN!

The brain is a very hungry organ. It is the first of the body’s organs to absorb nutrients from the food we eat. Give the body junk food and the brain suffers. Certain brain foods actually help boost a child’s brain growth and improves brain function, memory, and concentration. That’s a very important piece of information for all parents to ensure that they are giving their kids the “superfoods” they need to get the most of their school day. Here are a few foods to consider:
-Salmon
Salmon is high in omega 3’s, which are essential for brain growth and function. Research shows that when kids get more of these fatty acids in their diets, they have sharper minds and do better at mental skill tests. LUNCH: Instead of making a tuna sandwich, make salmon salad instead. Simply add a little mayo or plain yogurt and add some celery or carrots or a little chopped green onion. A little Dijon is a nice extra too. Serve on WHOLE grain bread, which is also a good brain food. DINNER: Salmon patties are easy to make – use 14 oz. canned salmon, add some blanched baby spinach, ½ onion finely chopped and salt and pepper. Make into patties and then into panko. Heat grapeseed oil, cook over medium heat, and serve with brown rice.
-Peanut Butter
Peanuts and peanut butter are a great source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which helps to prevent cell and tissue damage.
-Berries
In general, the more intense in color, the more nutrition. Berries also have a high level of antioxidants, especially Vitamin C. Try berries with your morning oatmeal, add cranberries to couscous and feta, or make a fast sherbet – freeze berries that you’ve had in your fridge and know they need to be eaten by the next day.
-Whole Grains
The brain needs a constant supply of glucose and whole grains provide that in spades. The fibers helps regulate the release of glucose into the body. And, remember, getting enough fiber is important for pooping every day.
-Beans
Beans are really special because they have energy from protein and complex carbs and have lots of fiber as well as lots of vitamins and minerals. They should win the gold medal for about the best food on the planet. They are excellent brain food since they keep a child’s energy and thinking levels at peak performance for a long time.
-Milk and Yogurt
You’ve heard “milk does the body good” and it’s true. Dairy foods are packed with protein and B vitamins – essential for growth of brain tissue. Milk and yogurt also provide a bigger punch with both protein and carbs, the preferred source of energy for the brain.






LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL NOW!!!

Diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol. Here are five foods that can lower your cholesterol and protect your heart.
Can a bowl of oatmeal help lower your cholesterol? How about a handful of walnuts or even a baked potato topped with some heart-healthy margarine? A few simple tweaks to your diet — like these, along with exercise and other heart-healthy habits — may be helpful in lowering your cholesterol.
1. Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad,” cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes.
2. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids
Eating fatty fish can be heart healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil — or omega-3 fatty acids — reduces the risk of sudden death.
3. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy.
4. Olive oil
Olive oil contains a potent mix of antioxidants that can lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol but leave your “good” (HDL) cholesterol untouched.
5. Foods with added plant sterols or stanols
Foods are now available that have been fortified with sterols or stanols — substances found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol.
Margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks with added plant sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent.






TOMATOES MAY REDUCE RISK OF STROKE

Eating tomatoes in your daily salad or regularly enjoying a healthy red sauce on your spaghetti could help reduce your risk of stroke, according to research published this week in the journal Neurology.
Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant that is good for brain health, the researchers say, and cooked tomatoes seem to offer more protection than raw.
“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke,” says study author Jouni Karppi, of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. “A diet containing tomatoes… a few times a week would be good for our health. However, daily intake of tomatoes may give better protection.”
Karppi says it’s the chemical lycopene that gives tomatoes and other fruits/vegetables their rich red color, that is helping to protect the brain. Tomatoes are particularly high in the powerful antioxidant that acts like a sponge, soaking up rogue molecules called free radicals that if left unchecked can damage cells.
Lycopene has attracted a lot of attention in recent years because it’s such a powerful antioxidant. If we don’t eat enough lycopene-packed foods, experts suspect too many free radicals get left in the body, damaging blood vessels by helping to form fatty deposits. When these deposits build up, a blockage forms. If that vessel is in the brain, the blockage can cause a stroke.






INCREASE DOPAMINE: NATURAL HAPPINESS!

Dopamine is neurotransmitter in the brain that plays vital roles in a variety of different behaviors. The major behaviors dopamine affects are movement, cognition, pleasure, and motivation. It is triggered during a variety of activities including food, sex, happiness, addiction (drugs, caffeine), pleasure, pain, motivation and gambling.
The reason Dopamine is critical is it allows us to manage our sensation-seeking mind and allow us to experience genuine pleasure rather than an image of happiness that is unattainable (addiction to foods, drugs, sex or gambling)
Increase Dopamine Through Diet, Exercise and Adequate Sleep.
-Eat foods rich in tyrosine. Almonds, avocados, bananas, low-fat dairy, lima beans, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds may all help your body to produce more dopamine.
-Increase your intake of antioxidants. Dopamine is easy to oxidize, and antioxidants may reduce free radical damage to the brain cells that produce dopamine. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants.
Exercise regularly. Exercise increases blood calcium, which stimulates dopamine production and uptake in your brain. Try 30 to 60 minutes of walking, swimming or jogging to jump-start your dopamine.
-Get plenty of sleep. Your brain uses very little dopamine while you sleep, which helps you to build up your supply naturally for the next day. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.






GO FOR A BRAIN HEALTHY DIET!

According to the most current research, a brain-healthy diet is one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol. Like the heart, the brain needs the right balance of nutrients, including protein and sugar, to function well. A brain-healthy diet is most effective when combined with physical and mental activity and social interaction.
Increase your intake of protective foods. Current research suggests that certain foods may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and appear to protect brain cells.
In general, dark-skinned fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of naturally occurring antioxidant levels. Such vegetables include: kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets, red bell pepper, onion, corn and eggplant. Fruits with high antioxidant levels include prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries.
-Cold water fish contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids: halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna.
-Some nuts can be a useful part of your diet; almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant.






Tomatoes Reduce Risk of Stroke

There’s nothing quite like a vine-ripened tomato, bursting with juice, or a slow-simmered tomato sauce, thick and rich — and now a new study suggests the red fruit and its products could be good for lowering the risk of stroke.
Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio found that men with the highest blood levels of lycopene were the least likely to have a stroke over 12 years.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that is found at high levels in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelons and guavas, according to the National Institutes of Health. For reference, a cup of tomato juice (240 milliliters) contains approximately 23 milligrams of lycopene.
“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke,” study researcher Jouni Karppi, Ph.D., said in a statement. “The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research.”
The Neurology study included 1,031 men between the ages of 46 and 65 who lived in Finland. Researchers analyzed the lycopene levels in their blood at the beginning and the end of the study (which lasted, on average, for 12 years).
By the end of the study period, 67 men had had a stroke. Fewer men with the highest lycopene levels had strokes than men with the lowest lycopene levels: Of the 259 men with the highest levels of lycopene, 11 had a stroke; meanwhile, of the 258 men with the lowest levels of lycopene, 25 had a stroke.
And when the researchers analyzed strokes that were caused solely by blood clots, they found that the men who had the highest levels of lycopene had a 59 percent decreased stroke risk compared with those with the lowest levels of lycopene.