Fountain of youth found in red wine and grapes

Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging report that a natural substance found in red wine known as resveratrol can significantly extend the life of mice. And it just may do the same thing for humans.

Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes (and in the red wine made from them), and is often thought to be the explanation behind the so-called “French Paradox”- the notion that people in France suffer less heart disease than Americans despite eating many foods that American dietitians frequently warn them against eating.

Though we’re a long way from proving that resveratrol can extend life, there’s good reason to think that it may help to do just that. A recent study in Spain demonstrated that a mere 100ml of red grape concentrate reduced LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), increased HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and lowered an important marker of inflammation by a whopping 56%. Besides resveratrol, grapes are a rich source of polyphenols, potent antioxidants that “mop up’ harmful reactive oxygen species known as free radicals. Free radicals have been identified as a big part of the aging process, and are associated with virtually every degenerative disease.

Though the hunt for a “magic molecule” that will extend life or ward off disease will probably continue throughout our lives, the interesting take-home point is that researchers continue to find compounds in whole foods- - that have life extending, health-giving benefits. There are thousands of these compounds. And while we may not yet know which ones are most responsible for the vibrant health of people who eat vitamin rich foods, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be better off if you make the Atkins Advantage-nutrition principles a part of your daily living: High quality protein, healthy fats, lots of fiber, plenty of antioxidants from vegetables, and low sugar.

Eat that way, and it’s a good bet that when scientists discover the next “miracle health compound” in food, you’ll already be eating it!