Thursday, November 02, 2006

3034 Adding some color, pt. 2

Yesterday I wrote about adding bell peppers, red, yellow, orange and green to my diet. Today I read that the green peppers are a bit more bitter, so I'll try to use more of the other colors. Also, I didn't know that pimento and papricka were made from bell peppers. One site described them as the "Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world."

But today I'll mention black seedless grapes. I bought a bunch yesterday, washed them and put them on the kitchen table; they are almost gone. So yummy. Grapes contain flavonoids and that's what give them their vibrant purple color, which you find in grape juice or red wine. The stronger the color, the more flavonoids.

This week the Wall Street Journal and NYT have been running articles on resveratrol, which some venture capitalists are betting has a future as an anti-aging drug. AP highlights here. Resveratrol and Quercitin, two compounds in grapes, appear to decrease degenerative diseases we associate with aging, such as cancer, dementia, diabetes, vascular disease (heart attack and stroke), macular degeneration and arthritis. People like the French who consume high fat diets but also drink red wine, have a low risk for heart disease.

Besides just tasting good (and I liked these black grapes better than red or white), they
  • increase levels of nitric oxide, which helps reduce clot formation
  • decrease blood clotting by red blood cells
  • increase levels of alpha-tocopherol and antioxidant activity
  • protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation
  • inhibit protein tyrosine kinases
  • inhibit the production of the blood vessel constrictor, endothelin-1, key contributing agent in heart disease
  • directly affect (through resveratrol) the heart muscle cells, by inhibiting angiotensin II, which reduces the heart's ability to pump efficiently
  • through resveratrol, cardiac fibroblasts are prevented from changing into myofibroblasts
  • grape skins contain saponins which bind to and prevent the absorption of cholesterol
  • red wines have more saponins than white wines
  • grapes also contain pterostilbene, which is known to fight cancer and may help lower cholesterol--it is also found in cranberries and blueberries
  • grape juice, not just red wine, has cardiovascular benefits too without the risks of alcohol consumption, or migraines which sometimes occurs because of additives. Six glasses of grape juice are about the same as 2 glasses of red wine in reducing platelet aggregation.
  • Resveratrol has been identified as a possible cancer preventive agent, and provides protection against benzopyrene
  • resveratrol has anti-inflammatory properties and is an activator of an enzyme (Sir2) seen in extended life span studies
Information taken from The world's Healthiest Foods

Another advantage of drinking a glass of red wine at dinner is the socialbility factor. We wouldn't sit and discuss the possibilities of the Ohio State vs. Illinois football game Saturday over a glass of tomato juice or grape juice. Somehow, with a glass of Shiraz, it is almost tolerable and interesting.

1 comment:

Dancing Boys Mom said...

Thanks for the info on the grape juice, although, I guess that should have been a gimme since it's from the same place, eh? Well, I'm slow. :-D