Health And Wellness

Wine, Chocolate, Spicy Food Diet Makes You Live Longer, Says Science

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woman holding wine

We're taught to stay away from certain foods and keep a strict eye on our diet. As we grow older, we learn to not indulge in some of our favorite foods like cheeseburgers, pizza, and beer. We begin to think that everything tasty and delicious is bad for us, and if we want to live a long and healthy life we need to stay far away from our guilty pleasures.

But some things — champagne, red wine, chocolate, Mediterranean and spicy foods — are actually good for us, and instead of avoiding them at all costs, we should indulge in them.

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1. Champagne improves memory.

According to a study by the University of Reading in England, drinking one to three glasses of champagne a week can help improve your memory (for people over the age of 40). In the study, researchers had rats consume a small dose of champagne with their daily food. Then, the scientists had the rats go through a maze to find more food.

Without champagne, the rat subjects had a 50 percent success rate, while those who had a bit of the bubbly found the food with a 70 percent success rate. After six weeks of regular champagne consumption, researchers discovered that the necessary proteins to improve short-term memory had doubled the rats' concentration. Three cheers!

2. Spicy foods lower the risk of cancer.

If you like chili peppers and all things hot, you may be in luck. A Chinese study found that people who eat spicy foods six or seven times a week had a lower risk of death from cancer or heart disease. Capsaicin (an ingredient in chili peppers) is often used as a topical pain reliever and has been linked to increased fat burning, can help fight infection, and stimulates the kidneys, lungs, and heart.

3. Mediterranean meals reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

The Mediterranean way of eating is a diet rich in vegetables, fish, and healthy fats, and has been proven to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and breast cancer. It can also cut down the risk of heart disease.

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4. Red wine is good for your heart.

There are a ton of health benefits to drinking red wine, and one of the best is that the antioxidants in it (called flavonoids) have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing the production of good cholesterol. Wine is extremely heart-healthy.

5. Chocolate helps cognitive function.

A study published in the journal Appetite found that regular consumption of chocolate helps our cognitive function. In other words, eat chocolate and stay sharp.

So go ahead and indulge yourself. Have a glass of wine or champagne, eat your favorite spicy foods or Mediterranean meals, and don't skip chocolate for dessert. You'll be helping to keep yourself healthy and you'll feel really good about it. 

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Woman's Day. Visit her website or her Instagram.

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