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The Wine Diet--No, Really!

Posted by perle0 on 2006-11-29 01:54:32 (5477 views)

A researcher in England named Roger Corder is suggesting that a healthy diet should include fresh foods, especially fruits, reasonable amounts of other foods (even fatty ones), a glass or two of red wine a day, and regular consumption of dark chocolate. Finally--a diet we can all get behind!

Despite what you might think, this diet is not the product of wish fulfillment, but rather of research into longevity in Europe. Doctors have noticed that people die younger in countries that focus on beer and liquor consumption, while the longest-lived Europeans are the French. Investigating further, Professor Corder found that people living in the mountains of Sardinia, an area with the highest concentration of centenarians in Europe, ate neither a low-fat diet nor the traditional "Mediterranean diet" of seafood and olive oil. They did, however, drink wine on a regular basis.

Further investigation in France showed that the region with the oldest folks--approximately twice as many over 100 as other regions in France--was the south-west region. People there drank mostly local wines made from the Tannat grape, of which the most well-known is Madiran. (They also definitely did not eat low-fat; foie gras and other rich, fatty foods were common there.)

It turns out that Tannat grapes are very high in a type of polyphenol called procyanidins. These are found in high levels in dark chocolate, cranberries, and certain young red wines. Other grapes with fairly high levels of procyanidins include Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Aglianico, an ancient grape variety grown in southern Italy. Other factors that increase the polyphenol leves include long fermentation on the skins and seeds; lack of filtration; old vines; and growing at high altitudes or in sunny climates. Unfortunately, long aging tends to lower the levels significantly. Prof. Corder recommends drinking between one and two 125ml. glasses of wine a day, or approximately half a bottle; more tends to raise the blood pressure.

Jeanne Louise Calment, the oldest documented person on record, who died in 1997 at the age of 122, claimed her longevity was due to olive oil, a regular glass of wineľ-and up to a kilogram of chocolate a week.

Professor Corder's book The Wine Diet doesn't seem to have hit Amazon in America yet, but it is on pre-order on Amazon UK. Not sure if that means you can order it in the US from them or not, but it's sure to raise some interest here sooner or later.

The Telegraph UK is running a series of excerpts from Professor Corder's book. Since the series is still ongoing, Googling his name may get you the series as it unfolds.


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