health benefits

  1. Green tea can keep you on your toes

    Drop for drop, it's hard to top green tea when it comes to health benefits. The drink has been shown to help fight cancer, boost the immune system, and even help you to live longer.

    And now, a new study shows that it can keep you active and on your feet -- especially if you're getting up there in years.

    Japanese researchers tracked nearly 14,000 seniors for up to three years, and found that those who drank the most tea were a third less likely to battle disability -- including problems with everyday life, such as bathing or dressing -- than those who drank the most.

    This being Japan, however, the people who drank the most drank quite a bit -- five cups a day (those who drank the least, on the other hand, had less than a cup on average). That's a lot of tea, but you don't have to drink that much to benefit. In fact, three cups a day reduced the risk of disability by a quarter.

    The study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition doesn't show why green tea helps keep seniors active and independent, and part of the reason is almost certainly because the tea drinkers in the study had healthier lifestyles overall.

    But that's not the only reason -- because green tea is packed with powerful antioxidants that have shown to boost health and ward off disease before, including epigallocatechin gallate.

    That's a name that was designed to trip tongues, so we call it EGCG for short -- and studies have shown that this stuff can reverse the cell damage linked to illness and disease.

    Green tea has also been shown to fight cancer, gum disease, stress, depression, pneumonia, and more. It can also boost your immune system, lower your levels of bad cholesterol, reduce your stroke risk, ward off dementia, and even help you to lose weight.

    It's about as close to a "magic" elixir as you'll find -- so go and brew yourself a cup or five today.

  2. Get wine benefits from your wine

    One of the best things about enjoying the health benefits of red wine is the wine itself.

    Being healthy has never tasted so good!

    So naturally, some researchers are trying to spoil the party -- because a new study looks at the benefits of the polyphenols in red wine... when taken without the actual wine.

    I'm happy to report that the experiment was a failure.

    Researchers gave 61 men and women with an average age of 61 one of three drinks for four weeks: A dairy beverage with a high dose of the polyphenols found in red wine... a dairy beverage with a lower dose of those same polyphenols... and a dairy beverage with no polyphenols.

    After four weeks, there was no change in blood pressure levels. The patients were all hypertensive before... and remained so afterwards with average readings of 145/86.

    But even the researchers must've expected that.

    "Previous human studies showed no effect of red wine drinking on blood pressure," researcher Ilse Botden, MD, a PhD student at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam told WebMD.

    The researchers concluded that whatever the heart benefits of red wine might be, they don't come from lowering blood pressure. Like I said, that's no surprise -- the real surprise is that they reached any conclusion at all about red wine... since no one in the study actually drank any.

    The researchers were on the right track in one regard, however: Red wine isn't actually the best source of some of its famous antioxidants. A single resveratrol supplement, for example, can contain as much of the polyphenol as an entire case of wine.

    But take it WITH your wine, not instead of it -- because studies have shown that booze itself holds some terrific benefits, no matter what kind of alcoholic beverage you drink. In fact, a moderate drinking habit can help your heart, lower your risk of stroke and may even extend your life... even if it won't lower your BP.

    And of course, booze is also great for the brain: One recent study found that moderate drinkers are 30 percent less likely to develop dementia and 40 percent less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's disease than non-drinkers.

    If you can get all that from drinking, why get it any other way?

  3. Wriggling away infection

    Maggots, as it turns out, are proving to be highly effective at treating diabetic wounds that won't heal -- the types of wounds that affect up to a third of all diabetics and often result in disability and even amputation.

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