BONUS: Organic Wine
The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring, fabled to restore the youth of those who drink from its waters. Some say that Juan Ponce de Leon was searching for it when he discovered Florida. But the legend didn’t start with Juan. Tales of healing elixirs and preserved youth run through human history.
In my opinion, the closest thing to a Fountain of Youth nutrient may be resveratrol68. It is found in the skin of red grapes, and has been shown, in at least some circumstances, to have gentle antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, neuroprotective, anti-aging, and life-prolonging effects69. Resveratrol is found in wine in amounts big enough to make a difference for a person drinking a moderate amount. Red wines consistently have more resveratrol than do whites.
In testing, organic wines average 32% higher resveratrol levels than their conventional counterparts. One organic Pinot Noir from Switzerland had 186% the amount in the matched conventional Swiss Pinot. A bottle of organic Gamay Noir had the highest amount in the study70.
My wife grew up on a conventional vineyard (raisin grapes), and knows all too well the prevalence of pesticides on such farms. I first chose organic grapes and wine to decrease exposure to nasty chemicals. But I’m also happy to enjoy organic grapes and wine for their higher levels of resveratrol.
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68Bagchi, D., Das, D. K., Tosaki, A., Bagchi, M., and Kothari, S. C. Benefits of resveratrol in women’s health. Drugs Exp.Clin Res. 27(5-6), 233-248. 2001.
Bastianetto, S., Zheng, W. H., and Quirion, R. Neuroprotective abilities of resveratrol and other red wine constituents against nitric oxide-related toxicity in cultured hippocampal neurons. Br.J Pharmacol. 131(4), 711-720. 2000.
Conte, A., Pellegrini, S., and Tagliazucchi, D. Effect of resveratrol and catechin on PC12 tyrosine kinase activities and their synergistic protection from beta-amyloid toxicity. Drugs Exp.Clin Res 29(5-6), 243-255. 2003.
Lu KT, Chiou RY, Chen LG, Chen MH, Tseng WT, Hsieh HT, Yang YL. Neuroprotective effects of resveratrol on cerebral ischemia-induced neuron loss mediated by free radical scavenging and cerebral blood flow elevation. J Agric Food Chem. 19;54(8):3126-31. April 2006.
69Wood, J. G., Rogina, B., Lavu, S., Howitz, K., Helfand, S. L., Tatar, M., and Sinclair, D. Sirtuin activators mimic caloric restriction and delay ageing in metazoans. Nature 430(7000), 686-689. 8-5-2004.
Yeung, F., Hoberg, J. E., Ramsey, C. S., Keller, M. D., Jones, D. R., Frye, R. A., and Mayo, M. W. Modulation of NF-kappaB-dependent transcription and cell survival by the SIRT1 deacetylase. EMBO J 23(12), 2369-2380. 6-16-2004.
70Levite, D, Adrian, M., and Tamm, L. Preliminary results of resveratrol in wine of organic and conventional vineyards. Conference Proceeedings, 2000. 256-257. 2000. (Viewed March 8, 2007 http://www.soel.de/inhalte/publikationen/s.77.pdf)
Benbrook CM. Elevating Antioxidant Levels in Food through Organic Farming and Food Processing. The Organic Center. January 2005.