Red Wine and Other Drinks
What other diet recommends red wine? Ours does because the ruby beverage's resveratrol is a potent antioxidant, inflammation damper, and artery protector. Plus, animal research suggests that high amounts of resveratrol may counteract cell death in the heart and brain, which could mean this compound has even greater potential to prolong your life. Limit yourself to one five-ounce glass a day; more could be harmful.
If you're not a wine drinker, no worries: Put on the coffeemaker or the kettle instead. Coffee appears to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's disease, and evidence suggests that java drinkers have a lower chance of dying from heart disease. Some of the benefit may come from caffeine, but coffee also contains chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that might also play a protective role. Drinking tea may lower your risk of heart attacks, strengthen your immune system, protect tooth enamel, and help fight memory loss associated with aging. Choose green, black, white, or oolong - their leaves all come from the camellia sinensis, or tea plant. And their polyphenols (antioxidants), fluoride, and caffeine - which are thought to contribute to these health benefits - are largely missing from herbal brews.
Two Secret Age-Defying Treats
They seem like diet no-no's because of their calorie load, but dark chocolate and a handful (not a canful) of nuts have longevity and weight-loss benefits.
This just in: Nuts give you a surprising diet edge. A recent study found that despite being a high-fat, high-cal food, they don't promote weight gain. The reason: People find nuts filling and after eating them, offset some of the calories by eating less later on. Best of all, up to 20 percent of the calories in nuts don't get absorbed.
Craving something sweet? Dip into dark chocolate. The latest evidence suggests that cocoa flavanols (more predominant in dark chocolate than milky versions) may lower inflammation, keep blood pressure in check, prevent platelets from clotting (which could, in turn, prevent strokes and heart attacks), and boost brain power.
Originally published on February 11, 2011