Juicy news ... be still my heart Essay: O, grape. Once again dietary science enhances our days of wine and cabbages with even more helpful advice for living.

March 22, 1997|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF

A study released this week has found that eight or 10 ounces o grape juice a day has a potent effect on the blood cells called platelets, making them less likely to form clots. And clots can lead to heart attacks.

Associated Press

Now then, grape juice it is. Once you have grape juice you'll be fine. You know this because you read it somewhere -- unclogs the platelets, flushes something from somewhere, prevents heart attacks. Or was that the baby aspirin? Two a day in the morning after the Stair Master and the bowl of "Totally Utterly Bran" and flossing your teeth and irrigating your mouth with a Listerine-filled Waterpik, thus killing unwanted bacteria, slowing gum recession and clearing the teeth of all that cabbage debris. Who'd figure the human mouth could harbor so much cabbage?

No matter. It had to be done. You read about it on the Web (http: //www.gassybutgood4U.com). Someone did a study comparing East Germans and West Germans, noting that East Germans -- despite their Cold War diet of gray beef and sausage -- suffered much less heart disease than West Germans and lived longer. And it wasn't just that their lives seemed longer because they were in East Germany. It was all that cabbage they ate.

So. Cabbage fritters and cabbage dumplings and Cajun cabbage and 2,000 other cabbage recipes you found on the Web (http: //www.GeezwasthatU?.com) and pretty soon you figured you were covered as far as heart disease was concerned. After all, you were drinking a couple glasses of wine a day because somewhere you heard about the French Paradox, which says: Voici les Francaises, zey eat all zat cheese and butter and yet zey have so leetle heart dizeeezes.

Someone did a study. Was it 17 adult men drinking two glasses of wine a day or two adult men drinking 17 glasses a day? Whatever. You read about it somewhere. A chemical in the wine was flushing out the arteries. So you stocked up on Cabernet and Cotes du Rhone and had a couple glasses and a couple more and got on the Stair Master and fell off and knocked over a lamp and developed a tremendous headache which reminded you that you hadn't taken your aspirin or eaten your day's allotment of garlic, which has something in it that prevents heart disease. Which, of course, you were frantically trying to avoid.

There was a very, very preliminary report you read somewhere saying that you could absolutely not eat too much garlic, what with the reports coming in fast and furious about the Sicilian Paradox, or some such thing.

You read somewhere about the amazing power of garlic-loading and how you really shouldn't cook it because that alters the chemical composition and not to worry about the fact that if you eat a bulb of raw garlic today you will still be tasting it in November 2002.

No matter. You were covered as far as the heart disease was concerned. What with the garlic and the broccoli, which you were eating in staggering quantities having heard or read or seen somewhere that broccoli with all that beta carotene was shown to reduce the risk of heart disease not to mention colon cancer in a preliminary study involving sedentary middle-aged actuaries in Boise. But in a later study the actuaries started exercising and the results were the same. So maybe the broccoli had no effect on the heart and perhaps the key, really, was exercise.

Or vice versa.

So you got back on the Stair Master on a Saturday morning and stayed on right through until 4: 30 that afternoon, skipping your aspirin and garlic, your beta carotene and vitamin A supplements and two meals consisting entirely of cabbage, dental floss and four glasses of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

But this really was not such a bad thing because you saw on the Web that the American Cancer Society says you should avoid alcohol altogether because preliminary studies show it raises the risk of cancer which might cancel out the beneficial effects on heart disease (http: //www.whothehell- knows.com). And it was probably a good thing that you omitted one day's dose of beta carotene and vitamin A, which you were taking to reduce the risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, because a study shows that cigarette smokers taking beta carotene supplements actually experienced 28 PERCENT MORE LUNG CANCERS AND PERCENT MORE DEATHS!

Even though you haven't smoked in years this made you so nervous you ate an entire head of cauliflower with a chaser of carrot juice and two garlic bulbs and you would have gotten right back on the Stair Master except you just read somewhere that the Stair Master makes your butt really big. So you had to think if you necessarily wanted to be so healthy and live so long if all it was going to come to was you walking down the street and people saying, "HEY, THERE GOES THAT INCREDIBLY OLD GEEZER WITH THE HUGE TUSH!"

So you sat down and relaxed with a nice glass of grape juice. You heard it was good for you. But, hey, who knows?

Pub Date: 3/22/97

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