So, About Wine and its Health Benefits…

Royalty Free/Corbis

Royalty Free/Corbis

Remember all that moderate wine drinking you’re supposed to do? Those one or two glasses a day you’re supposed to drink to prevent disease?  Yeah, well, a new study suggests that resveratrol, the compound found in with all the purported health benefits, is just a lot of hype.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, concluded there’s little evidence that resveratrol has beneficial effects on a number of health issues. They found no association between  , and less cardiovascular disease, inflammation, cancer and increases in longevity.

The study authors do say that other substances found in red wine and other foods, such as dark chocolate and berries, may still have small, positive health effects, so there’s reason to keep drinking.

And, there are these reasons too:  A nice glass of wine can bring a smile to your face, lets you unwind after a long day, and, of course, adds to a good laugh with good friends. All secrets to a happy life, if you ask me.

Check out this article from Johns Hopkins for more information about the study.

 

Study: A Little Wine Might Help Kidneys

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An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.

And for those who already have kidney disease, which puts one at higher risk for cardiovascular problems, moderate wine drinking might help the heart, the researchers added.

“Those (with healthy kidneys) who drank less than one glass of wine a day had a 37 percent lower risk of having chronic kidney disease than those who drank no wine,” said study author Dr. Tapan Mehta, a renal fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, in Aurora.

“Those with chronic kidney disease who drank less than one glass a day had a 29 percent lower risk of cardiovascular events (than those who drank no wine),” he added.

Read the full article.

via Study: A little wine might help kidneys | Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register.

 

Do Chardonnay Grape Seeds Hold a Slimming Secret?

Do Chardonnay Grape Seeds Hold a Slimming Secret?

Can Chardonnay grape seeds help you lose weight? The idea seems to have potential:

USDA researchers looking for a use for this waste in Albany, Calif. turned the chardonnay grape seeds into flour. In testing the flour on lab hamsters, the researchers found that despite feeding the hamsters a high-fat diet, the chardonnay grape seed flour seemed to prevent cholesterol increases and weight gain in the animals. The researchers also observed positive changes to the hamsters’ metabolic systems, specifically the cholesterol and fat metabolism–which supported the previous outcomes they measured.

via Do Chardonnay Grape Seeds Hold a Slimming Secret? – Boston.com.

Fancy vs. Fun

Fancy vs. Fun

How do you trick an oenophile into paying more for a wine? Give him a wine with a name that’s difficult to pronounce. This is what wine researcher Antonia Mantonakis of Brock University in Ontario discovered in a recent marketing study.

The more knowledge experiment participants had about wine, the more likely they were to report liking a wine from a hard-to-pronounce winery. The participants also reported they were more willing to pay $2 more for a wine if it had a really-hard-to-pronounce name.

So, why would a wine expert get duped into thinking a wine with a fancy name is invariably better and more expensive? Mantonakis explains that wine geeks seek out any subtle difference they can find.

If something is rare and unique then maybe it might be a higher value and it may be something that is more special.

And what about your average, everyday non-expert wine drinker? Mantonakis told NPR that cheap and tasty with a really fun name wins the day for the so-called low knowledge wine drinker. Non-experts like wines with names like Fat Bastard, Cupcake or Mad Housewife. These wines evoke something comfortable with a slightly adventurous edge.

Compound in Red Wine Could Fight Obesity

Compound in Red Wine Could Fight Obesity

Researchers at Purdue University report that a compound found in red wine can block the development and growth of fat cells. The compound, piceattanol, is similar in structure to resveratrol, which is also found in red wine, and is thought to fight cancer and heart disease; it converts to piceattonal after consumption.

Piceattonal is found in both red grape seeds and the skins, as well as in blueberries and passion fruit.

Kee-Hong Kim, an assistant professor of food science at Purdue, and coauthor of the study, explains:

“Piceatannol actually alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis, the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells. In the presence of piceatannol, you can see delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis.”

The Purdue researchers say they plan to do more research on this compound and whether it could be used as a method to counteract obesity.

 

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Science Supports Wine Snobs

Science Supports Wine Snobs

Ever feel frustrated because you don’t taste all those hints of vanilla, lavender, oak and tobacco in wines? Just know that you like what you like? According to researchers at Penn State, your ability to taste nuances in wine has just as much to do with physiology as it does with your training, or lack thereof, in vino.

A study published in the March 2012 issue of the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture suggests that wine experts — winemakers, critics and retailers — are super-sensitive to bitterness, so much more so than the plebeian wine consumers.

Researchers evaluated 331 wine drinkers. Those who identified as wine experts were 40 percent more sensitive to a chemical measuring their reaction to bitter taste.  The Penn State researchers posit that the supertasters among us are more likely to go into professions such as food and drink criticism because of their heightened sense of taste.

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