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The Red Wine Diet    by Roger Corder order for
Red Wine Diet
by Roger Corder
Order:  USA  Can
Avery, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Despite the title, this is not your typical diet book, filled with anecdotal praise and recommending a particular fad food as the fast track route to shed unwanted pounds. Rather, The Red Wine Diet focuses on what research has shown about the benefits of specific compounds in certain red wines and other foods, for cardiac health.

Roger Corder, a professor of experimental therapeutics at the William Harvey Research Institute in London, explains clearly, and accessibly to the layman, what research does and does not show, and what are still grey areas. He correlates the research with pockets of population around the world, where individuals lead particularly long lives - and drink wines that have an especially high percentage of procyanidins.

Though The Wine Diet's front cover advises readers to 'Drink wine every day and live a long and healthy life', Corder is not suggesting Bacchanalian excess, but rather moderation with a daily glass of red wine enjoyed at mealtime. He tells us that 'wine drinkers have a lower incidence of heart disease and diabetes, and are also less likely to suffer from dementia in old age than non-wine drinkers' and that his research 'identified procyanidins (sometimes called proanthocyanidins), the most abundant polyphenol in young red wines, as the key health component of wine.'

Corder talks of the flawed modern consumer expectation of a pill for every ill in context of the fact that societies with the healthiest and longest-lived people 'often lack state-of-the-art health services', yet eat unprocessed foods, drink red wine and generally take better care of themselves than the rest of us do. I found his historical account of the Australian tradition of wine doctors fascinating. He debunks myths (e.g. margarine versus butter). He also addresses procyanidin-rich foods (like apples, nuts and pomegranates), natural remedies like pine bark, and how to find specific procyanidin-rich wines from vineyards around the world.

And (despite all the fascinating research, it is a diet book), there's a two week menu plan as well as over fifty pages of enticing recipes - from which I plan to try at least Cranberry & Walnut Bars, Smoked Fish & Tofu Pate, and Chicken Mole very soon. Nutritional benefits are explained for each dish. Whether or not you're already an oenophile, I highly recommend The Red Wine Diet for your consideration. Santé!

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