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Napa Valley Here I Come!

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You can rest assured that while you’re reading this blog I’m hiking the trails of Marin County California, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Hilton Head Health is open 365, but that doesn’t mean the staff won’t take an occasional vacation.  I’ll be spending the next five days in the San Francisco Bay Area and Napa Valley.  It’s my first trip to the Northern California Coast so as a cultured young tourist I feel obligated to visit a few wineries during my jaunt.  Therefore, I figured what could be a better topic for this blog than to review the heart healthy, resveratrol packing and flavonoid fighting powers of vino.  But, brace yourself because like any responsible health educator, moderation must also be conferred!

The studies that support red wine for heart health have determined that antioxidants called polyphenols help protect the lining of the vessels in your heart.  These antioxidants can come in two forms:  flavonoids and nonflavonoids.  Flavonoids are also found in oranges, grape juice, apples, onions and tea.  However, it’s the nonflavonoids like resveratrol that are getting the most attention by scientists.  They seem to be the key ingredient in red wine that may prevent damage to your blood vessels, reduce your bad cholesterol and prevent blood clots.  I apologize if you’re a white wine drinker; it seems that the fermentation process of the grapes and more importantly grape skins used to make red wine is what gives the red wine its polyphenomic potency.

Here’s the catch, you have to drink in moderation or not at all.  Moderate drinking is defined as on average two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.  A drink is defined as five ounces of wine.  Keep in mind that if you have heart complications or are expecting you should consult your doctor.  Finally, wine isn’t a caloric freebie and may also influence your ordering decisions, so if you’re trying to watch your waistline you may need to reduce your consumption below the recommended amounts.  Cue the Bobism, “Resolve dissolves in alcohol!”

Who’s been to Napa Valley and which wineries should I visit?

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