I had an interesting tidbit to share about wine. At a recent educational seminar, the instructor was talking about the heavy metal content in wine. He claimed that he could tell if the patient was a regular wine drinker by signature levels of certain heavy metals present in a blood test. After looking into it I found a study from late 2008 that tested heavy metal levels in wines from 15 nations. You can read the full article here.
The results showed that, of all 15 nations tested, only 3 countries had wine with safe levels of heavy metals: Argentina, Italy, and Brazil. All the other wines tested levels 50-300 times what was considered safe. The highest contaminations were from vanadium, copper, and manganese. Manganese accumulation in the brain is apparently linked to a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Unfortunately, US and Californian wines were not included in the study. It would be interesting to see the results of further testing, and also to find out the source of the measured heavy metals.
The big buzz word in nutrition is Antioxidants. I'm sure you've heard about foods that are high in antioxidants such as chocolate, red wine, and pomegranates. This study, published in Nutrition Journal, measured the antioxidant content in 3100 foods and herbs.
Antioxidants are related to prevention of DNA damage, cell repair, prevention of cancer, etc. Most of the findings in food are already common knowledge, but some were surprising, such as: espresso, pecans, walnuts. The berry category also had high levels but included some strange foods - wild dog rose and Indian gooseberry....good luck finding those.
Spices in order of antioxidant content: cloves, peppermint, allspice, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, saffron. ALL spices had very high levels of antioxidants.
The MOST antioxidant-rich category of foods was....herbal/plant medicine!! They studied traditional medicinal herbs from Peru, Japan, India, and Mexico. A formula called Goshuyu-tou (or I think Goshuyuto as it is more commonly referred?) made it on the Best Of list - which is a formula we prescribe in Chinese medicine.
The authors go on to say that foods like the fruits, nuts, chocolate, and berries have 5-33 more antioxidants than meat. Chinese herbs, like the spices and other plant-based foods we eat, can have beneficial effects far beyond their basic nutritional value. Like the life-nourishing effects of a good diet, Chinese herbs can be another avenue to achieve a balanced healthy lifestyle.
Cheryl House, L. Ac., DACM, FABORM