heart benefits

  1. 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?

  2. Olive oil cuts stroke risk

    Years ago, researchers tried using olive oil as a placebo in trials for heart drugs.

    As it turned out, olive oil -- not widely known at the time for its heart benefits -- protected the patients in placebo groups better than some meds.

    And today, it's routinely given to cardiac patients instead of drugs.

    Just kidding!

    The reality is much more predictable. Big Pharma quickly put the kibosh on olive oil in its studies and found a placebo that made its drugs look better... and today, docs would rather prescribe those meds than urge patients to use more olive oil.

    It's too bad -- because it turns out this stuff isn't just great for your heart. It can also reduce your risk of a stroke.

    Researchers tracked 7,625 French seniors who had never suffered a stroke, then broke them down into three categories based on olive oil use: none, moderate, and intensive.

    When you see the results, you'll want to start putting olive oil on everything -- because researchers say that over five years, the folks in the "intensive" group were 41 percent less likely to suffer a stroke even after adjusting for diet, weight, physical activity, and other risk factors.

    In a second experiment, researchers took blood samples from 1,245 seniors and measured levels of oleic acid.

    That's the key monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, and the researchers wrote in Neurology that the third of patients with the highest levels were 73 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than the third with the lowest.

    But the benefits, of course, don't end with a lower risk of stroke. Other studies have found that olive oil can help lower levels of LDL cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, slash your risk of heart attack, and even help you live longer.

    If you've already had one heart attack, olive oil can help you to avoid a second one.

    It can even help you to lose weight.

    Some people use this stuff on their skin and hair, but you don't have to go that far. Just cook with it and be sure to add it to your salads, and you'll get everything you need to protect your heart and mind.

  3. Coffee, tea and heart health

    Love your morning cup? It's loving you right back, because a new study finds that people who drink the most coffee and tea enjoy some terrific heart benefits.

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