Monthly Archives: September 2018

Red Wine – Fountain of Youth?

If you Love Wine, this is the Best News in Years

We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine. Eduardo Galeano

Plastic Surgeon Richard Baxter’s book ‘Age is Better with Wine’ tells the story of Jeanne Calment who died in her sleep in Arles in the south of France in 1997, at close to 123 years of age.

‘Her birth predated the telephone,’ writes Baxter, ‘and her death was announced via the internet.’ As a young woman she sold art supplies to van Gogh and other impressionists who came to the Provence to catch the light. When she reached the age of 90, she made an agreement with her lawyer to subsidise her stay in her apartment until her death when it would pass to him. He died years before her, and his heirs had to continue paying the rent.

Apparently Calment followed a Mediterranean diet, loved rich foods, chocolate and red wine (not at the same time perhaps). A few years after her death, researchers discovered resveratrol, a compound that Baxter calls the most potent antioxidant of all. The best source, as luck would have it, is red wine because the process of making it extracts large amounts of resveratrol from the grape skins.

Continue reading

Blue Zones — Living to 100 in Good Health

From Okinawa to Loma Linda — what’s their secret?

‘Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say.’ W. H. Auden

Shangri La

The literature is full of adventurers who searched for places on this earth where time stood still. In the 1933 novel Lost Horizon, British author James Hilton describes a place called Shangri-La in a mystical valley enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains between China and Tibet. Shangri-La soon became a byword for a secluded, idyllic place where people lived far beyond the average human lifespan.

Modern civilisation has brought us many fancy things and astounding advances in medicine, yet it’s brought us much misery too. So the dream of a mythical place where people live to 100 years or more in good health is more than appealing to those of us who want to avoid the chronic ills of civilisation.

The Secret to a Long Life

Wind the tape forward to the new millennium, and we find American journalist Dan Buettner and a couple of European demographers looking for places in the world that come close to the dream of Shangri-La. They found 5 places where people live longer, healthier and happier lives than people elsewhere:

Continue reading