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The Wine Guy: Fruits of the Earth are forgotten remedies

Best of The Wine Guy

The Wine Guy
with Anthony Scarano

For the first 5,000 years of civilization humans relied on foods and herbs for medicine. In the past 50 years we have forgotten all of this in favor of patent medicines and pharmaceuticals.

We must remember the well documented, nontoxic and inexpensive healing properties of food such as: honey, which has antibacterial properties and is a mild sleep aid, sedative and tranquilizer; and kale, a rich source of anticancer chemicals with more beta carotene than spinach, twice as much lutein as any vegetable and can help regulate estrogen levels and fight off colon cancer.

Oats can lower cholesterol levels by 10 percent or more and stabilize blood-sugar levels. Oats also have estrogenic and antioxidant properties, and contain psychoactive compounds that can help combat nicotine cravings and depression. High doses of oats can cause gas and abdominal bloating and pain in some people.

Olive oil also lowers "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins, or LDL) without lowering "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins, or HDL). It protects arteries from plaque buildup, reduces blood pressure, regulates blood sugar and contains potent antioxidants. Olive oil is the best oil to use in salads and for cooking.

Onions (including chives, shallots, scallions and leeks) were thought by the ancient Mesopotamians to cure virtually everything. They contain exceptionally strong antioxidants and are full of numerous anticancer agents (onions block cancer dramatically in animals). The onion is the richest source of quercetin, a potent antioxidant in shallots and yellow and white onions that is linked to inhibiting stomach cancer. Eating onions can help thin the blood, lower LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol (preferred dose is half a raw onion per day), ward off blood cots, and fight asthma, chronic bronchitis and hay fever.

Onions are also essential in the diets of diabetics and can help defend the body against arteriosclerosis and infections. They have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, and are believed to have diverse anticancer powers. On the down side, onions can aggravate heart burn and may promote gas.

In recent years, dozens of studies from all over the world have associated moderate consumption of alcohol with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, decreased mortality rates and improved health conditions. This worldwide research has resulted in certain changes in how people think of alcohol.

Richard Doll, a British medical doctor and scientist, wrote in the British Medical Journal, "The consumption of a small amount of alcohol reduces mortality from vascular disease by about onethird."

A glass or two of wine with your meals can give you so many health benefits - so many that there is not enough space here to tell you about them all. I wish good health to all you wine drinkers.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.