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What impact does food have on our health, both mental and physical?

A pretty big one.

One out of four Americans suffers from some sort of mental disorder, significantly more than in China and other countries, part of which may be because of diet.

And French people have a 40% less risk of heart infarction compared to the rest of Europe, though this contention – called the “French paradox” – is highly argued.

Eskimos consume very high fat diets yet tend to have lower risk of heart disease.  The answer may lie in their consumption of certain fish with important fatty acids.

Depression, a common malady, has been linked in part to dietary decisions.  Increasing folic acid, magnesium and Vitamin B12 may help treat depression.

A good diet at its basics has a combination of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish.  Studies tend to show that adding one serving of fruits and vegetables daily significantly reduces risk of heart disease and possibly stroke.

Red Wine

Consumption of two or fewer servings of wine daily has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease.*

Red wine is very high in natural substances called polyphenols, containing more than 200 of them.  They are powerful anti-oxidants, which means they help prevent degeneration and aging of your cells.

Importantly, red wine has resveratol, a substance that has been shown to increase the lifespans of various animals, but not mice.  Resveratol is a plant antibiotic that seems to fight the formation of cancer at every step of the process, including inhibiting ribonucleotide reductase and other carcinogenic processes.

Resveratol may also fight brain disease and help keep your blood healthy.  Research has not caught up with all the exciting claims made about resveratol, however.

Red wine – in moderation – may also help lower cholesterol and help your innate immune system.  Some research shows that regular consumption of small amounts of red wine can help both women and men with sexual response and enjoyment, though those studies have been with small samples and need verification.

*Note: the American Heart Association does not recommend drinking, and consumption of three or more drinks daily is associated with heart disease and stroke.

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Sources:
Resveratrol and its analogs: Defense against cancer, coronary disease and neurodegenerative maladies or just a fad?
A systemic review of the roles of n-3 fatty acids in health and disease