Seeking a Real Quick Route to Better Health? Eat More Red!

Shift workers are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes as they themselves report getting less exercise and being prone to eating more unhealthy foods, especially when working nights.  As a result, they are often overweight, contributing to heart disease and diabetes.  But, small steps can make a big difference.  The results from three new studies, all promoting the benefits of eating red foods [and drinks], have been released in the past few weeks. 

A team of researchers from the University of Michigan found that a cherry-enriched diet not only reduced overall body inflammation, but also reduced inflammation at key sites (belly fat and heart) known to affect heart disease risk in people that are obese (and in at-risk rats).  But, don’t let the rats throw you.  A follow up study with humans yielded the same results. When ten overweight or obese adults drank eight ounces of tart cherry juice daily for four weeks, they experienced significant reductions in several markers of inflammation and their levels of triglycerides (fats found in blood), another critical risk factor for heart disease, fell.

In another study, researchers from the University of Michigan Health System found that eating red table grapes lowers blood pressure, improves heart function, and reduces indicators of inflammation in the heart and the blood.  Those eating grapes also had lower triglycerides and improved glucose tolerance. Another recent study focused on eating raspberries and strawberries to decrease the risk of certain chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes (also eat oranges, orange juice, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, watercress, prepared mustard, tea and various soy products according to the study).  These foods all contain phytonutrients, organic compounds from plants that are thought to improve health.

Most of us have read about resveratrol, a compound found in grapes and red wine, and its cancer reducing antioxidants.  A more recent study has also found that resveratrol may have anti-obesity benefits as well.   Resveratrol reduces production of certain substances that may be linked to the development of obesity related disorders, such as diabetes and clogged coronary arteries. Resveratrol also stimulates the formation of adiponectin, a protein known to decrease the risk of heart attack.  Obese people have been found to have less adiponectin than people of average weight.

The take home message: CHOOSE RED….grapes, raspberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and wine!

©2010 Circadian Age, Inc. ˜Working Nights”

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