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Good for You? Bad for You?

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WINE

  • Old news: Keep the red wine flowing — it helps fight heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. The magic ingredient: anthocyanins — antioxidants found in the grape skins used to make red wine — which prevent disease-causing cell damage.
  • Latest news: White wine may be as heart-healthy as red. Grape flesh — used to make both red and white wine — contains antioxidants that are just as powerful as those in grape skins, according to a new study.

The real deal: More research is needed, but the study does seem sound, says Goldberg. Interestingly, other studies have shown that beer and hard liquor have similar health benefits, indicating that it may be the alcohol itself that's doing our bodies good. But don't use that as an excuse to booze it up: One or two drinks a day is fine; any more than that can actually negate the health benefits.

SOY

  • Old news: Soy is a superfood: It can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and more. Soy first seized the spotlight when researchers linked the low incidence of heart disease among Asians with their high-soy diets. The word spread in 1999 when the FDA allowed food labels to claim that 25 grams of soy protein a day may cut heart disease risk.
  • Latest news: Soy has little effect on heart health, cancer, or reproductive health, according to a review of 200 human studies.

The real deal: Soy foods are high in calcium and protein and contain heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats. But experts say eating more soy won't significantly reduce your risk of disease — unless you're eating soy instead of other foods high in unhealthy saturated fats.

 

Originally published on September 26, 2007

 

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