Monday, June 30, 2014

Are Red Wine, Chocolate and Grapes Good for You?

#a world that works for everyone

Does reading about healthy eating ever seem confusing? 

Red wine, chocolate and grapes are foods that are said to help us look younger, stave off aging and prevent heart disease. True or false? Resveratrol-a phytonutritent in red wine, dark chocolate,  grapes, berries, various herbs and peanuts has been associated with increased longevity and reduced rates of cancer and heart disease.1 Yet a recent study declared that consuming resveratrol  has little or no benefit in preventing heart disease, reducing the rate of cancer or preventing strokes.2

Evaluating a single nutrient’s benefit is challenging when subjects in the test pool are not following the same strictly controlled diet ….I believe  the jury is still out on possible benefits of resveratrol.

What's the real story? 

All natural foods contain phytonutrients which enhance our body’s ability to neutralize toxic chemicals called “free radicals” that promote aging and fermentation  and increase the build up of artery clogging plaque.3

Rather than focusing on one phytonutrient like reseveratrol. Let’s take a look at the other benefits of these foods……

What's so great about grapes? 

Grapes and grape juice contain abundant levels of Vitamins C & A, B vitamins and folic acid and the minerals manganese, potassium, copper, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, iron and selenium.

These nutrients can reduce high blood pressure, boost your immune response and help with depression and maintain healthy blood. Nitric oxide in grapes helps to prevent plaque formation in the arteries and reducing blood clots and inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Saponin another compound in grapes  helps to improves cholesterol levels and reduces inflammation in heart disease. A surprising benefit of grapes is that they have unusual antimicrobial properties that can neutralize negative bacteria in the stomach and intestines like E. coli, Salmonella and H. pylori.

What about red wine?

To a lesser extent wine has the same benefits as eating fresh grapes. Wine helps many people feel relaxed and happy which also relaxes the cardiovascular system. It can get tricky when people feel  like they need to have alcohol in large quantities or on a daily basis. No matter how many phytonutrients we find in red wine- too much alcohol can play havoc with healthy blood sugar metabolism and lead to addiction problems.

Is chocolate really that cool? 

Many studies have indicated that dark chocolate can lower the rate of heart disease and even reduce the risk of any disease.

At first the phytonuteint-flavonol was considered to be responsible for these benefits but new research has found an unlikely cause for chocolate’s health building effects.

Fiber not flavonols:

Natural, raw unsweetened cocoa is not easily digested. As it passes into the stomach and small intestines it interacts with our healthy intestinal bacteria and produces an anti-inflammatory response. As the cocoa fiber comes in contact with our naturally occurring intestinal bacteria  a natural fermentation process begins which releases compounds that break down cholesterol and improve our blood lipid levels.

Our very healthy intestinal bacteria –called lactobacillus responds to the cocoa fiber with a dramatic increase in it's numbers. This enhances our overall immune response. When our healthy bacteria levels are high they can decrease the presence and number of potentially negative disease producing bacteria that also live in the gut.

Say what? That’s right -pure natural unsweetened cocoa without sugar, extra fat or enhanced flavorings improves our immune response, lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation in the body. 4

Sadly the delicious chocolate we all know and love is high in fat and sugar with extra flavorings. None of the things that make it taste so good increase these desirable health benefits.

In the same way that modest amounts of red wine  can help people feel happy and more relaxed eating modest amounts of chocolate can produce similar effects and when people feel happy and relaxed it improves cardiovascular health makes and makes us feel good.

Can you learn to like unsweetened cocoa nibs mixed into your breakfast cereal or your green salad? What about eating 4-5 ozs of grapes so that you get the added benefit of the  fiber and increased antioxidants instead of drinking a small glass of red wine.

I did ask Siri what she thinks.  Are red wine, chocolate and grapes good for me?

Siri said: 

“Please stop pairing red wind and chocolate…dry red wine and chocolate do not go well together. …

Resveratrol found in red wine , chocolate and grapes may not improve your health…..

Chocolate covered grape truffles will definitely make a spectacular finish to any meal……..” 

Oh dear even Siri isn't sure about this.....

What about just eating more fruits and vegetables? 

Yes- healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of strokes In a deep analysis of 20 studies published in the past 19 years  which evaluated  760,629 people  and 16,981 strokes it was established that stroke risk decreased by 32% with every 200 grams /1 cup of fruit consumed each day and there was an 11% decrease with every 200 grams/1 cup of vegetables eaten each day.5

All I’m saying is -If you want to eat chocolate and red wine think about having them with some grapes or water cress or spinach, chard, apples, strawberries, banana, papaya etc. These fruits and vegetables are also very high in the health protecting phytonutrients.

I enjoy hearing about your healing adventures and respond to all communication so let me hear from you by posting your comments or emailing me direct.


You might also enjoy: What Does Healing Mean?
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Power of Saying "Yes" guest post by Terry Drew Karanen

Have you ever wanted something – REALLY wanted something! – but, when it was placed before you there was a moment of hesitation before you accepted it? It’s happened to me. It seems that many of us have a problem saying “yes.” We can be so focused on needing something in our lives that when it (whatever “it” is) appears we find ourselves questioning the arrival. The packaging (or the form in which our good comes to us) may not look like what we expected. It may come quicker than we thought possible. We might even avoid accepting our good because we feel unworthy. So let’s look at some of the reasons that stops us from saying “yes” to life and how to be more receptive to our good.

Packaging – Wow…that’s a big one in my history. The example I use is the man who asks for help and it comes from the most unexpected source – the mother-in-law he can’t stand! My personal favorite was perfect, Divine Right guidance that came from an ex-lover who owed me money. Accept THAT one! It wasn’t easy, since he had no intention of repaying me, but by gritting my teeth I got the answer I needed to return to “yes,” meaning peace of mind.

Immediate demonstration – I love this one and, again, I must tell a story on myself about it. I had been dating the man who is now my partner for a little over a year. We had “that talk” and decided we wanted to make a go of it (guess it worked as that was nearly 10 years ago). That meant I had to move, so I put in a transfer with my company at the time, expecting it to take about a year. Instead, I got my transfer in less than a month. We panicked. I panicked! Should I say “no” to the transfer? A wise friend said, “Let me get this straight. You asked God to provide for you. God did, and now you are going to thumb your nose at the Universe because it happened quicker than your little mind thought possible. Is that about it?” I took the transfer.

Unworthiness – Here’s where self-doubt comes into play. We may, for whatever reason – the perfect daily guide, a friend’s encouragement, etc – decide, “Darn it! I’m going to DO this!” whatever “this” is. We pray, we meditate, we make plans and create a goal list and VOILÁ! The object of our desire is before us. The logical thing to do is open our arms wide, embrace the gift and give thanks. But we don’t always do that, do we? Sometimes it’s packaging or timing, but often it can be that now that the object of our desire is before us we start to feel shame, unworthiness or guilt.

Let’s not forget the role that wisdom plays in the power of “yes.” There are some people who tell us to say “Yes!” to everything. I’m not opposed to accepting my good, in fact I welcome it. But let’s understand that if someone suggests you walk out in front of a bus with him, or accept a poisonous snake as a gift, we acknowledge that what we really mean to say “Yes!” to everything that is for our highest good. It’s the process of implied wisdom, using our past experiences in life for a beneficial present and future.

Here’s another way of looking at this. We have enough Easter candy in the house right now to start our own dollar store. If I say “Yes!” to my ever-present chocolate cravings every time I pass by the kitchen counter I’ll soon not fit between the counter and the frig. As my chiropractor (a bodybuilder) pointed out to me recently, I can’t be tempted if it’s not there. Well, there is THAT! But, for now, the candy IS there. I get to decide (on a most frequent schedule) to say “yes” or “no” to yet another piece of chocolate. Based on the way my suit felt yesterday when I wore it I’m choosing to say “no” more often. What “candy of instant gratification” is calling to you right now?

Here’s a suggestion for you to play with over the next week based on the three points outlined above. First, be sure that you really want something before you ask for it and be willing to accept it without deciding exactly how it’s supposed to show up. Second, open the space to accept your good a whole lot quicker than you might be able to imagine. And, third, receive your good with grace and appreciation, knowing that if it’s presented to you that it’s yours to claim! Care to give that a try?


Special thanks to:  Terry Drew Karanen, LSW, MSW, DD,TDKM, LLC
      717.884.8592 (Mobile/Text)
      Twitter: @TerryDKaranen-receive daily "Tweetments"! 

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