By Dr. Krystosik

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Living to 100 and beyond like the inhabitants of the BLUE ZONES doesn’t have to mean a strict regimen of vegetables, rice and boring meals. One of the most momentous events of daily life in the BLUE ZONES is happy hours spent with family and friends, and a glass of wine with delicious, healthy dinners. People living in the BLUE ZONES have many lessons to teach us about a stress-free, happy and healthy lifestyle.

For example, people living in Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy are famous for their daily consumption of a regional red wine called Cannonau. Interestingly, scientists have discovered that Cannonau wine has up to three times the level of a powerful antioxidant called flavonoids as other wines. Small doses of these artery-scrubbing flavonoids throughout the day may explain the significantly lower rates of stress and heart attacks in this region of the world.

New research demonstrates that the benefits of flavonoids (known as polyphenolic compounds) go well beyond the heart. They also reach all the way down inside the gut to help stimulate the growth of probiotics (beneficial bacteria). At the same time flavonoids inhibit the development of harmful bacteria in the gut.

I need to mention only four of the five BLUE ZONE regions inhabitants drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California, one of the five BLUE ZONE regions do not consume any alcohol. In fact, scientists have concluded that it is not necessarily the alcohol that reduces the risk of heart disease, but rather the health promoting antioxidants found in the skins of dark red grapes, other berries and dark chocolate.

Finally, I want to make sure that no-one misunderstands todays lesson from the BLUE ZONES. Although alcohol in moderation can be beneficial, consuming alcohol in excess over time is devastating to health. We all have seen people suffer and die from the ravages of alcohol excess. I will spare you the details.

Take Home Message: Wine, in moderation is one part of a healthy diet and lifestyle that can be beneficial to your health. However, it does not mean that wine will somehow “cancel out” the negative effects of a poor diet (high in processed foods and saturated fat). And no, you can’t save up your glasses of wine during the week and end up having 14 glasses on the weekend.

Dr. Krystosik is a board-certified chiropractic physician with an undergraduate degree in clinical nutrition and is northeast Ohio’s leading expert in functional medicine. Dr. Krystosik is the author of 5 books on nutrition and natural medicine and is a nationally known speaker. For an appointment with Dr. Krystosik in his Northfield office, call 330-908-0094 or go to