I recently read some really great news. Coffee in the morning and red wine in the evening are good for you. In moderation, of course. Specifically, they help prevent the onset of Alzheimers, along with providing some other really wonderful health benefits that I will get into below. Sure, I had heard this before when various studies came out but it took one article that combined both of these pieces of good news to get my attention. See, now morning and evening are covered. 🙂
But what does any of this have to do with the yin and yang of life in India? I’ll tell you what – after years of living in the U.S., you kinda get used to having a Starbucks fix every now and then, and that of course is nowhere to be found in India. Now, don’t you tell me to go to Cafe Coffee Day for the same stuff. Please!
As for wine, two words: Selection and Cost. The first is much less than I’m used to, the second is exorbitant for the good stuff. Do you realize how sad that is?
Enough of my sob story. After all, I do get back to the US every other month or so, when I can have my fill of both – Starbucks as well as excellent, reasonably priced wine. And, I admit that I do have some 4 bags or so of Starbucks ground espresso coffee beans in my freezer in Mumbai. It’s just so much tougher to bring a few month’s worth of wine from there. Sigh.
But, let’s get into the benefits shall we?
First, the coffee –
The important characteristic and ingredient (for good health, that is) you are looking for in coffee is the caffeine. So, if you feel somehow healthy ordering a decaf, you’re all upside down. It reminds me of the low-cal (go hungry) diet versus the low-carb (be healthy) version. But, I better not get on that soapbox now.
Have you noticed how after you drink coffee you feel more alert and more, for lack of a better word, active? It’s apparently not your imagination. Coffee’s benefits include improved alertness, better moods and endurance for physical activity as well as enhanced memory. So, the wonderful taste of coffee? Well, apparently that’s just thrown in for free.
I love this kind of good news!
So, all in all, studies have shown that coffee – the fully-caffeinated kind – helps against Alzheimers, liver disease, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and gallstones.
Just remember, moderation means one or two cups a day. Enjoy!
Now for the wine –
Specifically talking of red wine here (my favorite, so I really don’t care to write about the other kinds), this too offers a range of health benefits. Because the consumption of wine is all too easy (except when you are an expat in India…), it’s a good idea to define moderation first. According to health experts, for a woman, that means one glass a day and for a man, that means two, where a glass of wine is defined as 4 ounces, no more.
A word of caution here. Say you don’t have wine for a four day period, please don’t drink a bottle on the fifth day to makeup for the lapse! You simply don’t get the same benefits, plus your head will pay for it sooner rather than later.
According to scientists, the key to the health benefits of red wine lie in the antioxidants, or flavonoids. Flavonoids help to reduce the production of LDL (also known as “bad” cholesterol). They also have the effect of increasing HDL (“good” cholesterol). These combined effects help to prevent blood clots and improve the lipid profile overall.
A recent study also proposes that red wine is good for muscle mass. Other claims about red wine go beyond cardiovascular benefits. A number of studies have discovered that an antioxidant concentrated in the skin of the grape, resveratrol, may actually help inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors as well as in the formation of nerve cells; therefore they be a factor in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Dry red wines – cab, pinot noir, shiraz – have more antioxidants than less dry wines such as merlot or zinfandel, so the related benefits are obviously higher as well.
Now, do you all really need any other excuse…er, I mean reason, to indulge? Let’s drink to all of that, shall we? Cheers!