Monday, December 7, 2009

Why wine should be part of your healthy holiday diet

The holidays are always a tricky time of year for those concerned about healthy eating, which of course should be all of us. We gather around food and drink, celebrate all that is good in our lives, and toast to friendship and goodwill. And we hit the buffet, usually not featuring low-cal and low fat options, so it is no wonder that average weight gain this time of year in the range of 10-15 pounds is the norm. Fortunately, there is one sacrifice that we don’t have to make. Red wine might actually help minimize the weight gain and other adverse effects of high fat meals.

First the general advice: Scan the buffet first, before getting in line, so you can save room on your plate for healthier choices. Make portion control your mantra, and try for a mix of carbohydrates and proteins along with higher fat foods. Don’t deprive yourself of what you like, just don’t have as much of it. Another helpful suggestion is replace sweet with spicy.

Standard advice usually also includes a caution to keep alcohol consumption in check. This can’t be argued with, but several lines of evidence point to the beneficial reasons to make red wine your holiday beverage of choice. For one, compounds in red wine tend to help moderate blood sugar levels, a major culprit in weight gain. Wine drinkers tend to have less trouble with weight gain overall, and some recent research shows that it actually works at a cellular level to control fat metabolism. Fatty foods also do a lot of their damage by releasing free radicals into the blood stream, and wine works to counter this as well. And finally, while wine may not count as a low-calorie drink, it is better than mixed drinks both in terms of sugar content (none in dry red wine) and the way the calories are processed.

So enjoy yourself this holiday season and share some good red wine with family and/or friends. And come to think of it, Age Gets Better with Wine makes a great present.

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