If you need another reason to lift a glass of red wine, here it is: Researchers at Georgetown University found that a component found in red wine can combat some of the negative health effects of a high-fat/high-sugar diet.
The health benefit comes from resveratrol, a potent antioxidant found in the skins of red grapes and also in blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries.
Dr. J.P. Hyatt, an associate professor at Georgetown University, hypothesized that a resveratrol supplement would counteract the negative impact of a high fat/high sugar diet on the hind leg muscles of monkeys. Previous animal studies had found that resveratrol increased the life span of mice and slowed the onset of diabetes. In one study, resveratrol had the same positive effects on mice fed a high-fat/high-sugar diet as aerobic exercise.
Hyatt and his colleagues fed one group of rhesus monkeys a healthy diet. A second group was fed a high-fat/high-sugar diet. Half of the second group received a resveratrol supplement while the other half did not.
Researchers examined three muscle types in the hind legs of the monkeys: a "slow" muscle, a "fast" muscle and a "mixed" muscle. The study showed that each muscle responded differently to the diet and to the addition of resveratrol.
Generally, the addition of resveratrol to the animals' diets indicated that their muscles became far more resistant to fatigue when compared to monkeys on the high-fat/high-sugar diet that didn't get the supplement.
When asked if the results could be transposed to humans, Hyatt said that reservatrol could "contribute to improved physical activity, mobility, or stability, especially in elderly individuals."
The researchers said that while their results are encouraging, they shouldn't be taken as a green light to continue eating a high-fat/high-sugar diet and simply add a glass of red wine to counteract the diet's negative effects.
Other studies have found that red wine may stimulate genes that slow aging on the cellular level. Many experts contend that a moderate amount of wine each day — two glasses — can protect against many of the diseases of aging including heart attack, Alzheimer's, diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and several types of cancer including colon cancer.
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