Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Brain Food

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Just in time to assuage the guilt of holiday indulgers, a new study in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that chocolate and wine enhance cognitive performance. According to Oxford researchers working with colleagues in Norway, study participants who consumed chocolate and wine as well as tea had significantly better test scores than those who did not. The brain benefits are attributed to polyphenols, micronutrients found in plant foods, especially flavonoids. Wine produced the biggest benefits.

I’ll Drink to That

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Immacolata, my Italian grandmother, swore by marsala. When she’d work up a sweat digging in the garden, she’d come inside and take a swig of the wine, a traditional aperitif in southern Italy. When we’d get coughs, she’d boil down some red table wine with a dollup of honey and let us sip the resulting concoction. Don, my (non-Italian) husband, called the stuff “hocus pocus” until we convinced him to try it one night when he was hacking away with bronchitis. He slept like a baby.

These days science is providing some vindication for the Italian cure-all. First, researchers cracked the “French paradox” — why people who live on fois gras, cheese, and butter don’t die en masse from heart attacks. They drink red vin with all that fatty food, of course. Then came the news that red wine may lower prostate and lung cancer risk, and improve liver health. Now we learn that the polyphenols in red wine may also ward off Alzheimers by blocking the formation of proteins that build the toxic plaques believed to destroy brain cells.

Salut’, as Immacolata would say.

Polyphenols are found in high concentrations in tea, cocoa, nuts, berries, and other plant foods as well as wine.