Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Is Red Wine the Secret to a Long Life?

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging report that a natural substance found in red wine, known as resveratrol, offsets the bad effects of a high-calorie diet in mice and significantly extends their lifespan.

If men are like mice, the results imply that very large daily doses of resveratrol could offset the unhealthy, high-calorie diet thought to underlie the rising toll of obesity. Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes and in red wine and is thought to partially explain the French paradox, the puzzling fact that people in France tend to enjoy a high-fat diet yet suffer less heart disease than Americans. The mice were fed a hefty dose of resveratrol, 24 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Red wine has about 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter, so a 150-pound person would need to drink from 1,500 to 3,000 bottles of red wine a day for an equivalent dose. Obviously, that's not a healthy option. Researchers caution individuals to wait for the results of safety testing since substances that are safe and beneficial in small doses may prove to be harmful when taken in high doses.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Depression Self-Assessment

Feeling blue? The Mayo Clinic has developed an online self-assessment that can help you determine whether you have some of the symptoms of depression. You can also explore depression treatment options and get some tips for self-care. Keep in mind that this assessment is purely a screening tool. It's not meant to give you a diagnosis but to increase your self-awareness. For more information you should follow-up with a mental health care practitioner.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

U.S. Falls Short on Fruit & Vegetable Consumption

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. In 1999-2000, only 40% of Americans ate an average of five or more ½-cup servings, or about 2½ cups, of fruits and vegetables per day. The government's most recent dietary guidelines suggest consuming even greater amounts (between 2 to 6½ cups per day), depending on age, sex, and activity level. The proportions of individuals meeting these new recommendations range from 0.7% for males 14-18 years of age to 48% for children 2-3 years of age. Toddlers' rates of consumption can be attributed to the fact that they drink about twice as much fruit juice as the rest of the population. Clearly, most individuals' intakes of fruits and vegetables are below recommended levels. So raising recommendations is one thing, but working to ensure that these foods make it into our diets is quite another.