MAY 30, 2012

A dietary disaster?

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dr daveMy wife and I love nothing better than to sneak into a movie with contraband Snickers, jujubes, baked Alaska or anything else I can stuff down the front of my trousers. The joy isn’t so much in the snacking, but rather in outwitting the tenacious teen security on the way in.

“Sir, what is that stuffed in your pants?”

“Umm, it’s a bottle of red wine.”

“No worries, but you’re sure you don’t have any Glossettes or Nibs down there?”

So far their cavity searches have usually failed to uncover anything but cavities. But one thing we’ve failed to sneak in successfully is ... popcorn. We did once but we forgot the muffler to our portable radar range and so we were asked to leave, none too politely.

Red wine, chocolate and popcorn. Sounds like a Sealey breakfast. No doubt a dietary disaster. Or is it?

Popcorn is the only real food that is 100 percent unprocessed whole grain. Lots of fibre and tons of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a good thing unlike polyester and Pauly Shore. They are antioxidants that run about inside you looking to beat free radicals like a Southern Baptist cop at Woodstock. Free radicals are bad things unlike free lunch, free Willy and free beer. While polyphenols are significantly diluted in the 90 percent water that constitutes fruits and veggies, they are quite concentrated in popcorn, which is only about 4 percent water.

The annoying, floss-inducing hulls of popcorn, the shards we discover the next morning wedged between our teeth have the highest concentrations of polyphenols and fiber. So floss, gag, swallow, gag again.

Air-popped popcorn is the only way to go as microwave popcorn is 43 percent fat.

I have written several articles now on the health benefits of chocolate, primarily to assuage my guilt. While my current recommendations of 37 Snickers bars for breakfast have not been validated in any scientific studies, (I continue to conduct an ongoing study to be certain the data is not misleading,) there is little doubt that a couple of pieces of dark cacao (sounds so much healthier than “cocoa” or “Kit Kats”) a day can diminish blood pressure, heart disease, painful nerve disorders and even possibly cancer. The special secret of cacao is flavanol, also an anti oxidant.

Cacao lowers LDL [‘bad’] cholesterol, raises HDL [‘good’] cholesterol and improves insulin resistance. Cacao also might have a role in dilating vessels to improve blood flow.

Red Wine
Speaking of flow, urologists and cardiologists really like this stuff. Cardiologists note the protective effect red wine has on the heart and urologists just like to drink. (It helps them forget what they actually do for a living.) The magic in red wine lies in resveratrol.

Resveratrol has potential as a therapy for diverse diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease. Though nobody has figured out how it works exactly, it works well enough at preventing heart disease that scientists may be close to actually developing a “red wine pill.”

Non doubt this will change the way we prescribe in the future. “OK Bloggins, I’m going to prescribe you two red wine pills, best taken with red wine, two squares of a Hershey’s dark and if that doesn’t work I’m going to refer you to a specialist ... Dr. Redenbacher.

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