Eat, drink, and be merry for a longer life
By DAVID MOASE
EAT chocolate, drink red wine and live longer ? it's enough to send many people laughing all the way to their wine rack.
Australian and Dutch researchers who have calculated a diet including dark chocolate, red wine, fish, fruits, vegetables, garlic and almonds can add more than six years to the life expectancy of a man.
All up, mixing the ingredients into what has been tagged a 'Polymeal', can reduce cardiovascular disease events by 76 per cent.
For women, life expectancy increases by 4.8 years.
The news comes as no surprise to Adjunct Professor Garry Egger, of Southern Cross University, who founded the Gut Busters weight loss program for men.
"There has been some recent evidence of the benefits of dark chocolate because it is high in antioxidants," he said.
"Unfortunately it is a reasonably high energy dose so you can get fat on it.
"Red wine, like other alcohols, is high in antioxidants but is often combined with high calorie foods.
"Combining both as part of the right sort of diet would not be a problem."
Prof Egger said men in particular needed an
Wines and other forms of alcohol are rich in antioxidants, which are compounds found in many foods and are beneficial to our health.
Red wine may be especially helpful because it has additional antioxidants that are derived from the skins of grapes.
One type of antioxidant found only in red wine increases the level of the good cholesterol in the blood while simultaneously lowering the level of bad cholesterol.
Researchers have also found a molecule, known as resveratrol, which exists naturally in grapes and red wine, has been shown to extend the life span of yeast cells by up to 80 per cent.
They hope to be able to show it can prolong life in not just yeast but in multi-cellular organisms like worms, fruit flies and, eventually, humans.