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What Do The French People Know?

The French Paradox –

Three Factors generally contributing to the hardening of the Arteries (Arteriosclerosis) are –

  1. High-level of bad cholesterol (LDL) are oxidized by free radicals and build-up plaque in the arteries.
  2. Damage to the endothelial cells.
  3. Overactive platelet activity causes stickiness of blood, leading to heart attack or stroke.

The research conducted, to explain the low incidence of heart disease in France is called French Paradox. The French eat lots of saturated fats but they faced only 1/3rd the risk of heart disease as compared to others. They consume lots of purple grapes, grape juice and red wine, which increases the good HDL cholesterol (due to the presence of flavonoids) that is cardio-protective and provides protection against prostate cancer.

The French eat 3-4 times more servings of vegetables that have been seasoned with heart-friendly olive oil, spices, nuts and herbs. They take time to prepare food, relax, eat slowly and enjoy their meals. They rarely eat pre-packaged foods.
To bring out the natural sugars and nutrients contained in the vegetables, they sauté or grill them.

They eat small portions of meat, compared to vegetables. And enjoy desserts in limited, small portions only. So it is not only the wine that keeps the French people healthy.

Despite the fact that the French paradox sounds like the name of a fiction book, it is actually one of the medical mysteries of the modern era. Before getting into the details of the French paradox, it is important to understand exactly what the complication is based on.

Obesity is one of the most common medical conditions faced all over the world. In fact, the condition has become so prominent that some countries are going to the extent of labelling the condition as being a pandemic. Because of the fact that most of us lead rather hectic and fast paced lifestyles, it is natural for a number of us to look for the convenience offered by fast food meals that, despite being undeniably tasty, completely lack any of the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that the body requires in order to perform optimally.

The French paradox is primarily the observation that the French, despite consuming the richest of foods, remain so slim and suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease. Since the observation was made by a Dr. Serge Renaud and broadcast in the United States of America around 1961 on a television program known as 60 minutes. The theory was that the heightened consumption of red wine by the French was playing a substantial role in decreasing the heart failure problems amongst people that consume foods with high levels of saturated fats. As a result of this airing of the French paradox theory, a number of red wine manufacturers all around the country started to lobby for the government to allow them to label the alcohol as a ‘health food’. Studies on consumption patterns also show that there was an increase of about 44% sales in the market.

Despite the fact that we have more precise instrumentation and methodologies that can help gauge the influence of red wine on a person’s status of health, experts today will still say that there isn’t any substantial information confirming that red wine has a positive effect on the body. The positive influence is believed to stem from resveratrol n the French paradox as high dosages of this component are medically linked to longevity as well as the prevention of cancer in other species. One medical study showed that when resveratrol was fed to mice, these mice used to run almost twice as far on the treadmill than they had previously done so as a direct result of the reduced heart rate. Moreover, it was also noticed that these mice lived longer than the mice that were not treated with the medication. However, scientists also believe that the human consumption equivalent of the amount of resveratrol fed to the mice would convert to a number of gallons per day in humans. 

While the kinds of foods consumed by the French are significantly high in caloric content, the French paradox points to another theory stating that the French, themselves will tend to stress that they watch their portion sizes in an effort to lower their risk of suffering from these conditions. Moderation is considered to be the factor to concentrate on.
Submitted on January 16, 2014