10 Best Anti-Aging Foods to Eat Every Day

The greatest desire of every woman is to stay young and beautiful as long as possible. We usually try various methods in order to prevent the aging process in our body. Though, our efforts are not always successful. It is necessary to remember that certain things can help you to add years to your life. Firstly, you should lead a healthy lifestyle. For this you need to do regular physical exercises and include wholesome foods into your diet. If you want to stay young and avoid numerous age-related diseases, I recommend you to consume the following anti-aging foods every day. They are extremely beneficial for your health!

1. Fish
The conducted researches have shown that those people who eat a lot of fish almost never suffer from heart disease. For example, the native Inuits of Alaska are not familiar with this health issue because they regularly consume a big amount of fish. This food is known to be rich in omega-3 fats that will stabilize your heart rhythms and protect you against cholesterol buildup in arteries.

2. Olive Oil
Due to the fact that olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats it is one of those foods that are efficient in fighting cancer and heart disease. Everybody knows that people who live in Greece constantly use olive oil for cooking. Scientists’ studies have proven that the consumption of this oil lowers rates of heart diseases among the citizens of this country. By adding olive oil to your dishes you will supply your body with antioxidants and polyphenols which you need to resist different age-related diseases.

3. Chocolate
Cocoa is the main ingredient of chocolate. It has a high concentration of flavanols that are very good for blood vessels. When your blood vessels function well, you’re able to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and kidney disease. That’s why you can easily enjoy the sweet taste of your favorite chocolate. Just make sure you control your portions, or this dessert will be harmful to your health. Besides chocolate bars, there is a wide range of beverages made of cocoa. By drinking them you’ll have a chance to prevent heart disease.

4. Yogurt
Some years ago Georgia was one of the countries that had the biggest number of centenarians in the world. Yogurt was claimed to be the main secret of their long lives. This dairy product is frequently used in most diets that are so popular nowadays. Perhaps you’ve never heard before but yogurt may slow the aging process. Being full of calcium, this food is extremely effective in preventing osteoporosis. In addition, “good bacteria” that are found in yogurt will strengthen your immune system and improve your overall health.

5. Blueberries
Dietarians state that blueberries may have a fantastic impact on human body. If you include these delicious and wholesome berries into your daily menu you’ll be amazed with the results. According to scientific studies blueberries are considered to increase people’s coordination when they become old. Plus, this food contains compounds that can easily diminish oxidative damage and inflammation. These health problems can lead to deficits in memory and motor function when you are old. So, blueberries are a wonderful choice for healthy aging.

6. Nuts
If you really care about your health and beauty, I would advise you to add nuts to your eating plan. This food is an enormous source of unsaturated fats and it can affect your body in the same way as olive oil does. Recently it has been found out that people who eat nuts live a few years longer than those who refuse from this tasty snack. Such nutrients as vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, make nuts one of the healthiest foods. Today you can find different kinds of nuts that are also a perfect option for vegetarians.

7. Wine
The negative influence of alcohol on our health is undeniable. Some people even don’t guess that when consumed in moderate doses alcohol can be salubrious for them. It should be mentioned that wine is the most preferable alcoholic beverage all over the world. If you drink wine, you will not only enjoy its refined taste but you will protect yourself against numerous diseases as well. Those who drink red wine are less subjected to diabetes, memory loss and heart disease. What is more important, this beverage will slow the process of aging in your body.

8. Carrots
Carrot is another fantastic food that will certainly help you to look younger and you will supply your body with various vitamins and nutrients that are necessary to be healthy. This orange vegetable is a perfect source of alpha- and beta-carotene that are known to boost our immunity and even stave off cancer. Moreover, carrots may be effectively used to care for your skin because carotenoids protect it from UV damage. When summer comes, you should try to add carrots to your diet and don’t forget to apply sunscreen either.

9. Sunflower Seeds
First of all, I’d like to say that most of us give preference to these seeds when looking for yummy snacks. Do you know that this food is very good for your health? We can hardly find any other food that is more packed with vitamin E than sunflower seeds. We all need to consume this vitamin in order to enhance our immune system which becomes weak with age. Nevertheless you have all chances to roll back the years by eating your favorite sunflower seeds.

10. Prunes
Perhaps you are surprised to see prunes on this list, but it has been proven that this food can be even more efficient than fresh fruits when it comes to our health. One of the reasons why prunes are so useful to us is their capacity to remove harmful free radicals from the blood and improve our circulation. Being dried, prunes have a big quantity of good things that have positive effect on our body. As an alternative to prunes you can also eat raisins or figs.

Unfortunately, we can’t stop time and stay young forever. However, we have endless opportunities to add years to our life and to look amazing no matter how old we are. All the above foods will definitely help you to stay healthy and by eating them you’ll be able to avoid various age-related diseases. What methods do you use to prevent the negative effects of aging? Do you eat any other anti-aging foods? What are they?

10 Best Antioxidant-Rich Foods

We’ve all been told to consume more foods that are high in antioxidants to achieve optimal health, but do you know which food is rich in powerful antioxidants? In fact, there are many antioxidant-rich foods that you can add to your diet, and below is the list of the best ones that can really benefit your health. Antioxidants are essential for us because they protect us from disease, combat the free radicals in the body and slow the aging process. When you have low antioxidant levels, oxidative stress can happen, making you more susceptible to a great number of diseases including cancer and heart disease. To keep your immune system strong and your body healthy, you should eat an abundance of foods that are high in antioxidants every day. The common antioxidants include beta-carotene, vitamin A, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin C, polyphenols and flavonoids. Read on to discover some of the best antioxidant-rich foods.

1. Beans
One of the best antioxidant-rich foods to add to your eating plan is beans. Beans are an excellent source of fiber and powerful antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy. I suggest you to consume red beans, which contain the highest levels of antioxidants. You can add them to your salads, soups, stews and pasta dishes.

2. Berries
Not only do berries taste great, but they also help prevent a number of diseases. While blueberries are small in size, they boast plenty of health benefits. They can improve your cognitive abilities and boost your immune system. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries are great sources of antioxidants as well. Try adding them to your yogurt or oatmeal for a huge health boost.

3. Dark chocolate
I’m sure many of you are happy to see your favorite dark chocolate on this list. Yes, dark chocolate is high in potent antioxidants and it can reduce your blood pressure. When it comes to chocolate, even the dark one, you should eat it in moderation. It’s not recommended to consume white and milk chocolate since they don’t have the same health benefits.

4. Apples
Everyone knows the saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ but many people often forget about this amazing fruit. Apples are loaded with essential vitamins and powerful antioxidants and they make a great portable snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth in no time. You can also add apples to your fruit salad, smoothies, or even make an apple pie. Opt for red apples, which have the highest levels of antioxidants.

5. Artichokes
Perhaps you are surprised to see artichokes on the list of the best antioxidant-rich foods, but it’s actually no wonder. Artichokes are packed with powerful antioxidants and they deliver a great amount of essential vitamins to the body. You can use artichoke hearts in your salad or as a healthy topping on your vegetable pizza.

6. Potatoes
Although it’s always said to avoid consuming potatoes, especially if you are trying to lose weight, it’s good to incorporate some potatoes into your diet. You can bake up some potatoes and add them to your dinner or you can add some color to your plate with antioxidant-rich mashed sweet potatoes. Just don’t load your meal up with sour cream and butter.

7. Carrots
There are many reasons to eat carrots daily and one of them is because they are rich in beta-carotene that helps the body produce essential vitamin A and combat cancer. Carrots are also great for your eyes and they can even improve your sight. Add them to your vegetable salads, soups, stews, stir-fry, or eat them raw.

8. Red wine and red grapes
Grapes, especially red grapes, are also packed with powerful antioxidants. Red wine (when consumed in moderation!) and red grapes are high in heart healthy polyphenols and flavonoids. But it doesn’t mean you can drink the whole bottle of red wine daily in order to fill your body with more antioxidants. Drink it in moderation, or better, eat some red grapes.

9. Pecans
Pecans are high in a powerful antioxidant that can help to prevent inflammation in the arteries. The thing is, consuming pecans raises the amount of healthy antioxidants in the body, which is essential in helping to prevent development of numerous diseases including heart disease and cancer. Add some chopped pecans to your oatmeal, snack on roasted pecans or eat them raw.

10. Black plums
While red plums are delicious, black plums are higher in powerful antioxidants than red ones. These antioxidants help the body fight a great number of diseases. Black plums are also low in calories and fat free. Add black plums to your smoothies, juices, fruit salads, puree them for quick and tasty fruit sorbet, or make an old-fashioned plum cake. Black plums make a perfect lunch box treat as well. Just make sure you don’t peel your plums since most of the antioxidants contained in plums are found within the skin.

Sure, there are no definite guarantees that you can prevent cancer or other diseases by simply consuming antioxidant-rich foods, but you can significantly lower the risk of developing these diseases. What’s your favorite antioxidant-rich food?

10 DIY Storage Ideas for Your Small Apartment

The incredible variety of things we are tempted to buy and own does not make it surprising that even people living in large houses may lack space to accommodate everything they would like to keep.

With small apartments and rentals, figuring out your storage options involves a more complicated proportioning: how much space you need to move around vs. how many things you own and use most often.

This may seem a challenge, but there are ways to maximize a small space or add character to your storage without some serious woodwork or buying anything expensive.

1. Crates and pallets
Crates and pallets
Photo: pinterest.com

This is probably the first thing that comes to mind in the context of rented spaces or tight budgets. Crates and pallets are like queens and kings of DIY storage world, greatly honored by frugal crafters and renters, displayed in many magazines and online articles. It seems they are everywhere.

The road of crates and pallets is so often traveled for a reason – they are cheap or even free. You can paint and decorate them or skip that part, and in case you do not like the result of your experiments or simply have to move out, you may get rid of them with no regrets.

Crates
Photo: pinterest.com

There are many really neat ideas of what you can do with wooden boxes, crates, and pallets – whether you prefer a rustic or a more sophisticated and stylish look – to make your space more functional on a dime. However, if you think you are tired of seeing these everywhere, or for some other reason they seem nothing more than an eyesore, you will have to get more creative.

2. Ladder storage
Ladder storage
Photo: pinterest.com

Actually, even if you think crates and pallets are genius, take a look at ladders that come close – or even prove to be more functional. Whether store bought or thrift and rustic-looking, ladders make great storage for blankets and throws, clothes and even shoes.

This is also a very convenient option when you can’t make holes in the walls. It works for places without closets and for these awkward corners or narrow spaces that can’t fit in anything else and so are difficult to make any use of.

Ladder storage idea
Photo: pinterest.com

However, ladders combined with shelves take this to another level, resulting in storage solutions that are functional and stylish, multitasking as closets, room dividers, shelving units, and even mini offices or work areas – without you having to buy some piece of furniture.

3. Shutters and shelves
Shutters and shelves
Photo: pinterest.com

Repurposed shutters or old shutter style closet doors can be turned into coat racks, cabinets, book stands, headboards, tables, photo displays, bulletin boards and even kitchen islands.

Since that is the kind of material that is cheap or free, it sounds like an easy answer to the typical renter’s or student’s dilemma: limited space and limited budget. Plus, different things made from shutters can pull together the look of the room and make it more personal.

4. Tables and suitcases
Tables and suitcases
Photo: pinterest.com

While a DIY kitchen island certainly seems great and may be a part of your dream home, if you are living in a small apartment you are more likely to wonder where to fit a table in your tiny kitchen.

Maybe a desk somewhere for a small, but functional hobby/work area would be awesome, but space is too limited? Or would you love just anything in the entryway to drop your bag and keys off when you come home?

Table suitcases
Photo: pinterest.com

Tables cut in half or fashioned out of something smaller than a regular table or desk size (like a wooden box or an old suitcase) are convenient DIY alternatives that work in spaces so tight or narrow you would think nothing can be squeezed in there.

Sections of tables placed on top of each other make great customized storage units that will not cost you a fortune but look even more stylish than something money could buy.

5. Chairs
Chairs
Photo: pinterest.com

We have all been there at some point, using chairs as clothing racks for lack of something more appropriate or whenever feeling too tired. That is not convenient if someone needs to sit on that chair as well, but if you have got one to spare (or one that’s no good for its primary purpose anymore), putting it up on the wall can make a big difference.

Chair
Photo: pinterest.com

If you like the look of vintage wood in your home, it is a perfect way of upcycling an old chair (or a part of it), but if that is not your thing, you can use modern-looking chairs that are still in a good condition – simply as creative elements to give your apartment a unique and personalized style.

6. Vertical space
Vertical space
Photo: pinterest.com

The great-grandmother of thousands of awesome space-saving ideas proudly bears this family name: vertical space. That’s why professional designers say that the greatest hack to organizing small closets and apartments is making the most of that underused space above and in between things.

Vertical space idea
Photo: pinterest.com

However, this does not mean that most of your belongings must live up next to the ceiling so that you have some space below to move around, and that you will always need a ladder or a stepping stool to reach them.

Even the smallest apartment has a considerable potential for storing your daily essentials within convenient range while preventing them from cluttering countertops, dressers, and tables.

7. Doors
Doors
Photo: pinterest.com

There are lots of photos out there of the closet, pantry and cabinet doors seeming to hold more stuff than the shelves, racks, or rods behind them. Have you always been wondering how inconvenient it must be to close such doors, if that’s possible at all? Is it the messy and crammed look of these that makes you cringe?

You do not have to go the route of doors falling off their hinges even if space is very tight. There are neat ways of using doors as storage without adding a lot of weight or overcrowding.

After all, they do not have to hold a lot of different things in order to be your functional and space-saving helpers. In this case, less is more – and your doors may even look better with whatever is placed on them than they would on their own.

8. Spice wine and wine racks
Spice wine and wine racks
Photo: pinterest.com

When it comes to makeup, perfumes, crayons, and markers, using spice and wine racks for displaying these vertically is more convenient and better-looking than just letting a bunch of small items flood a shelf, a drawer, or a dresser top.

Rack up even more points when organizing things in every room and corner – wine racks may be used to store shoes, rolled-up towels and sheets, or even clothes that can be rolled up. If you have old CD and DVD racks and towers, these can also be converted to storage that is thrifty and functional.

 

9. CD and DVD racks
CD and DVD racks
Photo: pinterest.com

Even if you do not own any of these anymore, you can find them at garage sales and thrift shops. Repurposed CD or DVD racks and towers are great for storing pot and plastic container lids, books, jewelry and a variety of other small items – depending on whether these are placed vertically or horizontally. Such racks can also become sorters for your mail and paperwork or craft supplies.

10. Buckets
Buckets
Photo: pinterest.com

There is a great variety of DIY hanging bucket organizer ideas, and they look incredibly nice, but making holes in the walls is not always an option. However, buckets are very handy for sorting and organizing a whole host of items that would otherwise end in a huge mess or tangle.

 

Whether you have limited drawer space or no furniture at all, or whether your roommates dump their things where they please or your kids scatter toys everywhere – buckets can save the situation. They can also be painted or decorated for a frugal yet stylish way to organize while adding color and creativity as well.

 

 

The good news is that functional and inexpensive storage ideas for small spaces do exist – and they can also fill a home with personality and style. A small area to work with really forces you to be creative if you do not want it to become a junk drawer equivalent where you can never find what you need. Many DIY ideas are totally worth the effort even if you can afford some standard organizing options, as they make your space more personal and unique.

The Major Fights White Wine Drinkers Have With Red Wine Drinkers

“A bottle of red, a bottle of white, it all depends upon your appetite,” sang Bob Dylan in Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.

He could not have been more right. Turns out, your taste in wine has a lot to say about your personality. Some women will only drink red, and others will only drink white – and this often causes some debate about which is better.

Romance

Nothing is more romantic than a bottle of red wine, like a luscious Merlot, over candlelight. Red wine is the kind of drink you get cozy on the couch with and switch on a lovey-dovey movie on Netflix or read romance novels while sipping. I mean, red is the color of passion, after all.

White wine cannot compare, but that is because white wine drinkers tend to be a bit more energetic. White wine drinkers live more for spontaneity rather than romance. These kinds of people prefer sipping their pinot grigio or chardonnay on a beach and holding their glass up to the sunset.

Flavor

Red and white wine lovers really go at it when it comes to flavor. Wine, depending on the grape, region, brewing process, and added ingredients can have a vast flavor profile.

In general, white wine drinkers will claim that it is the citrusy, buttery, and maple or oak notes of white wine that makes their drink of choice so awesome. Besides, when the last time you heard of red wine being dry and crisp?

But, red wine drinkers can always come back with the fact that red wine has less sugar than white, is subtler, silkier, and is the category Malbec calls home. Malbec, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is a certain type of red wine that tastes like chocolate cake.

Red wine complements red meats, hearty stews, pepperoni pizza, roasted vegetables and herbaceous seasoning. White wine better suits lightly grilled seafood, garlicky sauces, and citrus-based marinades. Naturally, those who prefer one diet type over another will ultimately go for the wine that tastes best with their food choices.

Price

One wine drinker will definitely call themselves more thrifty than the other. That would be white wine drinkers. Financially speaking, white wine costs less than red wine, and that is because of the growing and harvesting process of the grapes.

Another factor that goes into the price is the amount of alcohol in the beverage. Sorry, white wine drinkers, red wine has anywhere from 12-15% alcohol per glass on average. White wine falls into the 10-14% range.

Other factors

Red and white wine drinkers may find themselves arguing over the health benefits of wine, the duration of hangovers, and other factors.

First, red wine drinkers have the right to boast about choosing the healthier drink, since red wine has more phytonutrients, tannins, and less sugar. On the other hand, pinot grigio is the lowest calorie wine, regardless of its color.

In terms of a hangover, both groups lose. It depends on how much you drink. Still, nothing beats a glass of cool wine after a long day, regardless of its color. Though, if you need to let loose, you can do so with white, because if you spill it on yourself or the floor, you do not have to worry about stains.

Opting to throw wine in someone’s face, though? Yeah, you will want to choose red for that one. Preferably a port.

Whatever wine you choose, I am sure we can all agree that having a glass of wine, regardless of its color, is better than having no wine at all. Red and white wine both have health benefits and a wide range of flavors, so drink up, and never let anyone tell you that your favorite bottle is not good enough. If it hits the spot for you, then drink up.

Wine gadget claims to filter out hangovers

Cheers to wine, hangover free  (iStock)

While every choice comes with a consequence, the future could get a whole lot more peachy for oenophiliacs everywhere. Vino startup PureWine claims their latest purifying gadget will make it easier than ever to strip wine of headache-inducing compounds before it ever hits your lips.

“We basically are a Brita filter for wine,” company CEO David Meadows told The Dallas Morning News. Meadows, who received a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, founded PureWine three years ago with his son Derek in hopes of discovering a way to consume wine without fear of a hangover.

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CALIFORNIA’S LAGUNITAS BREWERY CREATES CANNABIS-INFUSED IPA

According to the company website, after much experimentation, the father-son duo discovered an effective way to removing sulfites and histamines from vino, and The Wand was born. In September, a one-bottle-use spout that fits wine bottles like a cork and filters vino as its poured is set to hit shelves, according to Meadows.

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Unpleasant reactions induced by wine drinking may be more common than you realize. According to the company’s research, up to 75 percent of adult consumers experience headaches, flushed skin or nasal congestion after downing a glass or two.

“I was able to drink two glasses of red wine and not develop a headache, which I hadn’t been able to do in a long time, if ever,” gushed product tester Jeryn Laengrich, thankful that the PureWine gadget was able to eliminate her hangover. However, experts are skeptical that the gadget is totally effective.

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Moving forward, more scientific research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of the product, said Matthew Feldman, a private-practice allergist at the Dallas Allergy and Asthma Center.

“What they’re claiming is that some of the side effects and intolerances to wine may be improved by removing histamines and sulfites, but that’s technically not an allergy,” he said.

What Winemakers Want You To Know About Virginia’s Wine Renaissance

I arrive in Charlottesville before noon on a pristine spring day, the rolling green hills a far cry from where I started my morning, before sunrise in an Uber to JFK. I’m here to learn about Virginia’s unique wine culture. My first guide is Gabriele Rausse, an old school Italian winemaker known as the father of Virginia’s modern wine renaissance.

My image of an intimidating wine expert evaporates upon meeting Rausse. With a laidback demeanor that is standard fare around here, Rausse offers to take me on a tour of the surrounding vineyards, and soon we are cruising along winding country roads in his 1979 Mercedes. Rausse begins to unfurl Virginia’s wine history. From the canopy of sun-dappled maples to the rolling hills dotted with vineyards, I am struck by the lushness of Virginia’s countryside.

Vintage Roots

THOMAS JEFFERSON FOUNDATION AT MONTICELLO
Like most American success stories, Virginia has had to crush a variety of obstacles on its 400 year path to becoming a respected winemaking region. In the early 1600s, the first colonists tried to cultivate the area’s native vines to produce a cash crop, but ongoing attempts were thwarted by the region’s diverse climate.

By the 1770s, European winemakers were commissioned to try their luck with planting the European Vitis vinifera outside of Williamsburg, but even the experts couldn’t achieve a successful harvest. Construction began at Monticello, and along with Jefferson’s grand vision for a mountaintop estate, the founding father ensured that wine would always have a legacy in Virginia.

MICHAEL SNELL / ROBERTHARDING VIA GETTY IMAGES
Rausse and I head back to Monticello to walk around the grounds where Jefferson planted 330 varieties of fruits and vegetables, along with two vineyards in which he planted 24 varieties of grapes sloping down the mountainside. Jefferson’s original crops didn’t survive, but he continued to establish wine as an important part of Virginia’s culture by importing more than 400 bottles from Europe a year to serve at Monticello’s famous dinner parties. He even installed dumbwaiters from the wine cellar to the dining room to keep the vino flowing without interruption.

Modern Revival

LINDSAY HARRISON
Rausse and I stop to admire the tight green clusters of grapes now flourishing in Jefferson’s original vineyard. Overseeing Monticello’s grounds and gardens for the past 22 years, Rausse has brought Jefferson’s dream to fruition by restoring the vineyards with several of the original vine varieties that Jefferson planted back in 1807. Several vintages produced from these grapes are now sold in Monticello’s Museum Shop, including a crisp Chardonnay and Bordeaux-style blends.

We pause to take in the spectacular panoramic view of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains that unfurl beyond Jefferson’s vineyards, where 30 wineries welcome guests along the Monticello Wine Trail.  All these wineries are located within 25 miles of Charlottesville, making this a great destination for wine lovers to enjoy tastings, wine festivals, live music, or just soak in the beauty of the Virginia’s countryside.

ABOUD DWECK
Early Mountain Vineyards on the Monticello Wine Trail
Jefferson laid roots for winemaking in Virginia, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that Virginia’s winemaking really took off. Looking to expand internationally, Italian winemaker Gianni Zonin bought a parcel of land outside of Charlottesville, taking a risk on a region where many had failed. He sent his vineyard manager, Gabriele Rausse, to find a fresh solution to get the wine flowing in Virginia.

Upon arriving in Virginia in 1976, Rausse was up against a healthy dose of skepticism from locals, who assured him that pinot noir could not be grown in Charlottesville. But these challenges invigorated him: “Before I came, I checked the climate of Charlottesville, and it was exactly the same climate of my town in Italy. So I said, why shouldn’t it grow here?”

Over the next six years, Rausse cultivated the fields of what is now Barboursville Vineyards, becoming the first vintner to successfully plant Vitis vinifera in the region. And in the spirit of generosity that Virginia seems to cultivate, Rausse shared his trade secrets with other local vintners. The number of wineries in Virginia steadily grew from a handful in 1980 to more than 300 today.

Like all great winemakers, Rausse let the land guide him. He realized that the grafting process had to be perfect to survive the region’s drastic seasonal changes. And when it comes to climate, Rausse tells me that “Virginia does whatever she wants.” While growers in California can rely on a mostly stable climate with temperate growing conditions, in Virginia, “there’s no year that the climate is the same.”

This is how underdog stories go. Every time the climate or seasonal variation throws a new challenge at Virginia’s winemakers, they adapt, and it’s this spirit of innovation that has allowed Virginian viticulture to thrive. With a harvest season that runs according to Mother Nature’s whims, the result is constant experimentation. For wine lovers, that means discovering a new and unique flavor profile with every visit to Virginia’s wineries.

History Preserved and Perfected

I say goodbye to Rausse at Monticello and make the 40-minute drive to Barboursville Vineyards, often credited as Virginia’s top winery. A quick rain shower en route leaves a pleasant earthiness in the air and the sun re-emerges to confirm the tranquility of Charlottesville. Even the highways here feel steeped in nature, reminding this longtime city dweller of the simple pleasure of cruising along a beautiful country road.

I pull into Barboursville and am struck by the size of the vineyard, a sea of rolling green hills and orderly rows of trellises stretching farther than the eye can see. It feels like a respite from the real world.

Luca Paschina, general manager and winemaker at Barboursville, has offered to show me around. Like Rausse, Paschina comes from a family of Italian winemakers, and made his way to Virginia in 1990 to run Barboursville.

I climb into Paschina’s SUV and we make our way along sloping hillsides covered in neat rows of vines. Paschina tells me about the 18 varieties of grapes they have planted, and how even small changes in the slope can lead to hugely different yields. In his 27 years at the helm of Barboursville, he has grown the vineyard from 45 acres to almost 200, and launched a tasting room and restaurant that welcomes 80,000 visitors per year. Paschina is particularly excited about the burgeoning interest in aged red wines in Virginia, and the tasting room features a large collection of older vintages, offering yet another draw for wine connoisseurs.

The vineyard’s bestselling wine is called Octagon, a harmonious blend of Bordeaux, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot with a smooth-bodied finish. The wine is enhanced by its historical connections, with the name Octagon chosen in honor of the octagonal shaped dining room of James Barbour’s mansion, whose ruins flank the inn on the Barboursville property. Designed by Jefferson, the mansion burned to the ground in 1884.

Winemakers are preservationists, and Zonin has instituted an ongoing restoration process to shore up the crumbling ruins from further disrepair. With their stately brick remains coexisting peacefully with the bucolic countryside, the ruins are a sight to behold, and yet another reason to add Barboursville to your next wine tour itinerary.

I am staying the night at the 1804 Inn, adjacent to the ruins and built a century before. I’ve got the Vineyard Cottage all to myself, and the quaint 18th century dwelling is perfect for travelers seeking tranquility and privacy. I take a stroll to the ruins before turning in for the night, thinking that Jefferson would be pleased at how things turned out around here.

Laidback Luxury

The next morning I drive back toward Monticello, where I am meeting Kirsty Harmon, winemaker and manager at Blenheim Vineyards. Whereas Barboursville is steeped in history, Blenheim takes a more casual and contemporary approach to wines. “The nice thing about Virginia wineries is that every single place you go is going to be radically different than the next,” said Harmon. Visitors to Blenheim are encouraged to bring the whole family to enjoy music festivals, food trucks, and tastings at the 30-acre vineyard.

Blenheim is owned by musician Dave Matthews, who designs new bottle labels every year. Harmon says that some visitors come because of Dave Matthews, and learn a bit about wine in the process, and some come for the wine and learn about the Dave Matthews connection.

The vibe at Blenheim may be laid back, but its wines are rooted in Harmon’s deep scientific knowledge of winemaking. As one of only 20 or so female winemakers in Virginia, Harmon got her footing in the industry when she met Gabriele Rausse, who became her mentor. She’s been running Blenheim since 2008, and in that time has seen a huge increase in wine tourism. Blenheim welcomes 45,000 visitors a year for tastings.

True to her vineyard’s laid back vibe, Harmon creates wines that are fruit forward and approachable, meant for everyday drinking: “We try to present wine in an approachable but laid back way. Wine can get very intimidating and stuffy, but it doesn’t have to be that.”

My wine journey is nearing its end. I’ve learned firsthand that a spirit of generosity is as much a part of the winemaker’s job as a deeply ingrained knowledge of the land, from its history to its soil composition. Jefferson runs deep around here.

But the wineries of Virginia aren’t just bringing Jefferson’s dreams full circle; they’re also taking Virginia’s wine culture into bold new territory, where laid back and luxurious can coexist, making Charlottesville the perfect weekend destination for both newcomers and wine aficionados alike.

Experience the rich flavors of Virginia’s wines for yourself. Check out Virginia Tourism for a guide to the best wineries around the state and plan your next trip to relax in the laid back luxury of Virginia’s beautiful vineyards. Because Virginia is for wine lovers!

Red wine could help gut bacteria to stop the flu

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Gut bacteria that helps to fight the flu works better if given antioxidant compounds found in red wine, black tea and blueberries, finds a study in mice.

The trillions of bacteria that live in your gut – known as the microbiome – don’t just help with digestion. They also play a big role in mental health and in controlling body weight. Not least, they are also the masterminds of the immune system.

Now scientists at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine have discovered that some of these bacteria do a much better job at fending off flu if they have an adequate supply of a type of antioxidant called flavonoids.

If the bacterium Clostridium orbiscindens was present in mice, and if the mice were given a diet high in flavonoids, they recovered from the flu much more quickly than control mice. The results are published in the journal Science.

“For years, flavonoids have been thought to have protective properties that help regulate the immune system to fight infections,” said study author Ashley Steed at St Louis Children’s Hospital.

“Flavonoids are common in our diets, so an important implication of our study is that it’s possible flavonoids work with gut microbes to protect us from flu and other viral infections. Obviously, we need to learn more, but our results are intriguing.”

But before reaching for the wine at the first sign of a cold, there are two things to consider. First, the study was done in mice, not humans. So further research would be needed before confirming this holds true for people too.

And secondly, the flavonoids alone are not enough. The mice had to have Clostridium orbiscindens present in their guts. If they didn’t, the flavonoids couldn’t work this way.

“It’s not only having a diet rich in flavonoids, our results show you also need the right microbes in the intestine to use those flavonoids to control the immune response,” said Thaddeus Stappenbeck of the Conan Professor of Pathology & Immunology, also a study author.

The bacteria used the flavonoids to boost a molecule called interferon, which aids the immune response. They did this by breaking down the flavonoids into a compound called desaminotyrosine (DAT). This cut down the flu-related lung damage in the mice, which in humans can cause complications such as pneumonia.

“The microbes and DAT didn’t prevent the flu infection itself; the mice still had the virus. But the DAT kept the immune system from harming the lung tissue,” Stappenbeck said.

Next, the researchers hope to find more kinds of gut bacteria that could break down flavonoids in this way to boost the immune system. Until then, the researchers say that eating lots of blueberries and drinking black tea before the next flu season certainly isn’t likely to hurt.

Flavonoids are found in red wine, blueberries and black tea, among other things. They might help you stop getting sick.Aurimas

Wine & Spirits: ‘Pucker factor’ tells if acidity in wine pleases your palate

Wine & Spirits

On a warm summer deck or porch night when the drink of choice is a crisp, refreshing wine, usually white, your “pucker factor” often will determine whether the wine will please your palate.

Pucker factor? You know, that initial sip (or any sip) that sometimes can make you feel as if you’ve just bitten into a lemon. Your tongue feels as if it’s curling, your teeth clench and a little shiver runs through your body.

That’s what happens when the taste is too tart or sour, and it means the acid level in the wine probably is out of balance with such things as the tannins, sweetness and alcohol.

An overabundance of acidity, sometimes caused by picking and using under-ripe grapes, can lead to problems, as can a wine with not enough acidity.

“A wine can definitely have too much acid,” said Wayne Thornton of Private Stock Wine & Market in the Tuckahoe Shopping Center.

“These wines will taste excessively sour and sharp. On the other hand, a wine with too little acid will taste flabby and flat with less-defined flavors.

“Acidity, the tartness and crispness of that first sip, is present in all wines. Tartaric acid is the most important of basically three acids (malic acid and citric acid are the other two). The concentration depends on the grape variety and the soil content and at what point the grapes were harvested.”

How do you know whether that bottle of sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio will have the right balance? Ask your wine merchant for guidance.

A crisp, refreshing wine can be perfect for the summer, but Thornton had a warning about drinking it outdoors — or even in — during this time of the year.

“In hot weather, it is easy to drink a refreshing, smooth wine too quickly, as a thirst-quencher,” he said. “Therefore, try to look for wines with a low-alcohol level, under 12 preferably, and save the big boys for the winter.”

Thornton’s choice?

“A dry, perfectly chilled Provence Rosé,” he said. “The freshness of the grapes, usually the year we are in, the correct acid balance, normally on the zippy side, produce an elegant, refreshing taste that will pair wonderfully with backyard grilled foods.”

One such wine is the MiMi Grand Reserve ($17.99), a delightfully balanced blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah, capped with a glass cork.

Bruce Bogad of Sonny’s Fine Wine and Beer offered other general and popular options.

“We’ve been doing very well with Spanish whites this summer,” he said. “Grapes like grenache blanc and macabeo are smooth and soft with tropical-fruit overtones, making them wonderful sippers on the hammock. Alcohol around 10 to 12 percent and a cost of around $10.

“Italy remains a close second with all the fabulous whites available outside of pinot grigio for $10 to $15. A grape called grecanico has been an excellent choice.

“Of course, dry rosés from France in the $10-to-$15 range are still doing great as well.”

The common denominator?

“Minimal acidity with balance and softness being the prime descriptions,” Bogad said. “Light picnic foods are the perfect food pairings.”

— Wayne Thornton, Private Stock Wine & Market (Tuckahoe Shopping Center)

— Hunter Boxley, The Vino Market (Midlothian)

— Peter Neff, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese on Grove Avenue

— Hunter Boxley, The Vino Market (Midlothian)

— Booth Hardy, Barrel Thief Wine Shop and Café on Patterson Avenue

— Peter Neff, J. Emerson Fine Wines & Cheese on Grove Avenue

— Jack Berninger

How to Make Recycled Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

In the summer I always keep homemade natural bug spray at hand, but tiki torches are a lovely and practical way to light up the patio while keeping mosquitos at bay. (And where I live, that’s a tough feat!)

I avoid plastic as much as possible and we use glass, stainless, or wood in its place, so I went in search of some DIY ideas. Thanks to the magic of Pinterest, I decided to experiment with upcycling and reusing my old wine bottles.

I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was for such an impressive (and useful) result!

Why Tiki Torches?

It has gotten more difficult over the years for my hubby and I to get away for date nights (because children), so our go-to date is sharing a bottle of wine on the patio once the kids go to bed. (Wine can be healthy, I promise!)

The one downside to our patio wine-drinking date? The previously referenced mosquitos who like to join us!

Seriously, where we live, the summertime is affectionately known as the “Mosquitopocalypse” because of the literal clouds of mosquitos. Bug spray is great, but if you sweat or swim (both common occurrences in summer) you’re stuck reapplying in order to keep the blood-sucking bastards mosquitos at bay.

I started looking for some tiki torches to use in our yard but the only options at our local store were:

  1. Really nice metal tiki torches that cost over $20 each
  2. Cheaper bamboo ones that our puppy would likely confuse with his bone and chew on the first day

I started researching how to make tiki torches by reusing glass wine bottles and found a simple all-in-one option. We have quite a few of these in our yard now, and not only do they help with the mosquitos but they add a nice sense of decor as well!

The Obligatory Caution:

As with anything DIY involving glass or fire, use caution when making and using these. Glass can break unless treated with care. Since this tiki torch uses citronella oil, it can also be a fire hazard if used incorrectly. Of course, use common sense with these and make sure to:

  • Use these only in areas where they can’t be knocked down or easily break. Or, use the kind with mounting brackets so they can be safely held in place. This is the kit I used to mount my tiki torches.
  • Consider putting small rocks or marbles in the bottom of the bottle to add extra weight and prevent tipping if using on a table.
  • Don’t use these indoors.
  • Keep the wick on the top of the bottle at 1 inch or less.
  • Store the torches in a garage or shed (or somewhere else away from the weather) when not in use.
  • Again, use common sense.

How to Upcycle Wine Bottles into Tiki Torches

This DIY project especially appealed to me because ever since I was little, I’ve loved unique glass jars. I remember asking my mom if I could save some our old bottles and jars so I could make crafts with them or use them to store little toys.

Now I love to save and reuse glass jars for making tinctures and natural remedies. In fact, my natural remedies cabinet looks like a vintage apothecary with a collection of unique, colorful recycled jars and bottles.

Thanks to our patio dates, we now have a robust collection of empty wine bottles that were beautiful enough to justify keeping. Hopefully you have a stash too. If not, start saving your favorites (or choose the prettiest bottles to buy!).

Wine habit = justified! Bonus!

Tiki Torch Supplies

To make these tiki torches, you’ll need several very specific supplies:

  • Wine, beer, or liquor bottle with a standard size neck. I recommend OZV (my husband’s favorite) or Dry Farms Wine (my fav).
  • 1/2 by 3/8 inch copper coupling
  • 10 inch tiki wick
  • Nylon thread seal tape or 1/2 inch rubber washers

Or:

  • an all-in-one tiki torch kit (try this 3-pack kit or this mounted option)

Plus:

  • Tiki Torch Fuel*

*Most tiki torch fuels are petroleum based and create harmful byproducts when burned. I like this safe and green formula that is natural, sustainable, and burns cleanly.

Tiki Torch Instructions

  1. Wrap one side of the coupling with the nylon tape or slide the rubber washers onto it. This helps hold the coupling in place and seal off the fuel from the air. You’ll want to make sure that the coupling can slide into the mouth of the bottle tightly but not fall in. For wider bottles, more nylon tape or thicker washers may be needed.
  2. Feed the wick into the coupling, leaving about ¼ to ½ inch above the coupling to be able to light.
  3. Optional step: Add clean rocks or marbles to the bottom of the bottle to fill it 1/3 full. This is optional and only recommended for tiki torches that will be on a table and not those hanging or mounted.
  4. Add tiki torch fuel until the bottle fills to the beginning of the neck. *Tip: According to some sources, you can add a few inches of water first and then the fuel. The fuel floats on top of the water and this reduces the amount of fuel needed and makes it more efficient since the fuel doesn’t have to travel so far up the wick.
  5. Carefully insert the coupling into the mouth of the bottle.
  6. Let the wick absorb the fuel for at least half an hour before lighting.
  7. Light and enjoy

How to Choose a (Truly) Healthy Wine with Todd White

As a mom of six, it’s long been part of my weekly ritual to sit down with my husband after the kids are in bed and enjoy all a good glass of wine has to offer. But as my diet improves (and as I get older … ahem), I find I’m more and more likely to get hangover-like symptoms, even from just one or two glasses of wine.

This is a problem! And one that isn’t as simple as sulfites, as many commonly think.

Thankfully, I discovered Todd White, wine expert from the Napa Valley, and the amazing Dry Farm Wines company. Dry Farm Wines works with small family vineyards all over the world to provide pure, natural wines that are also … get this … sugar free!

Dry Farm Wines: The Best Wine for Your Health

It all started when Todd set out to solve a personal problem: how to still indulge his passion for wine while avoiding the #1 public health enemy, sugar. His solution grew into Dry Farm Wines, the only lab tested, all natural, health quantified wine merchant in the world today.

Dry Farm “biohacks” wine so we can have all of its health benefits without the downsides. Many leading U.S. health influencers endorse these wines, including Mark Sisson, Dave Asprey, Robb Wolf, Abel James, the Fat Burning Man, and others (and now me!).

Todd’s expertise on wine is vast, and I can’t thank him enough for sharing what he knows so I can keep enjoying a good glass of wine!

In This Episode, You’ll Learn

  • The many health benefits of wine (especially red wine) within moderation
  • How to choose the best wines that won’t give you a headache or add to your waistline
  • The inside scoop on the commercial wine industry’s practices and labeling
  • Why not all natural wines are sugar free
  • The shocking hidden additives in wine like heavy metals, artificial coloring, and animal byproducts (and how to avoid them)
  • How the Ketogenic diet works and why so many people choose it as a lifestyle
  • Why meditation is the greatest biohack in all of history
  • The benefits of deep breathing practices, cold therapy, and other alternative approaches to health
  • And more!

The Dry Wine Farming Difference

So how does Dry Farm Wines accomplish what they do? Can sugar-free, low-carb wine really taste good?

The truth is, traditional wine making practices produce the best (and lowest sugar) wine. Just like with food, the industrialization of winemaking over the last fifty years has lowered the quality of wine by choosing cheap, fast methods of production.

For this reason, Todd recommends wine not from the U.S. or the Napa Valley, as you might think, but wine from small vineyards in Europe.

One big difference? Dry farming.

The U.S. leads the world in the irrigation of grapevines with almost 100% of all vineyards in the U.S. being drip irrigated. This might seem like a harmless enough practice, but most of Europe has outlawed irrigation, and for good reason.

Todd explains why irrigation isn’t as harmless of a practice as it might seem:

When the fruit ripens on a grapevine, the physiology of that ripening process is deeply impacted by irrigation…. This is the reason that the Europeans don’t irrigate. It’s because the character of the taste of the fruit fundamentally changes.

And it’s not just taste that’s sacrificed. Higher water content means the grape will need to have a higher sugar content to make good tasting wine. The higher the sugar content at the time of picking, the higher the level of alcohol (and sugar byproducts like glycol) in the final product.

All this has a health impact. Dry farming practices make the grapevine grow deeper roots, produce more complex tasting fruit, and lower the water, sugar, and final alcohol content.

Which means no more headaches for us!

Other Benefits of Dry Farm Wines

  • Comes from small European vineyards that use the purest natural farming methods on the planet
  • Dry farmed without irrigation
  • Low 7-12.5% alcohol content (commercial wines can be up to 24% alcohol)
  • Lab-tested to be sugar and carb free (even natural wines can have 0 to 300 grams per liter)
  • Lab-screened for absence of mold and toxins
  • No added sugar or chemical additives
  • Never uses sawdust or wood chips for fake oak flavor
  • No or minimal sulfites
  • Delivery to your door

In fact, you can now try my favorite wine for only a penny! Check out this exclusive Wellness Mama offer.

Do you enjoy wine? Have you ever experienced negative side effects from drinking it even in moderation? Please share what has and hasn’t worked for you!

Resources We Mention:

  • Dry Farm Wines

Special Thanks to Today’s Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by Kettle and Fire Bone Broth. If you love the benefits of bone broth simmered on the stove all day but want a quick and easy way to make it, Kettle and Fire is for you! They have the first grass-fed (and grass-finished) non-perishable bone broth and it is ah-mazing! Kettle and Fire Bone Broth can be found in many Whole Foods on the west coast and you can also order online here.

I use their bone broth on a regular basis and used it to create the recipes in my new bone broth e-book (releasing later this year).

This podcast is also brought to you by Thrive Market. If you live in a real food desert like I do, it can be difficult to find certain organic, specialty, or allergy-friendly foods. Thrive Market makes it easy by carrying thousands of the non-perishable foods that I use most often at discount prices.

They’re like a combination of Costco, Amazon, and Whole Foods. They are online like Amazon, have a yearly membership fee to unlock discounts like Costco, and carry high quality foods like Whole Foods!

I order from them regularly and highly recommend them. Check out all of their products and grab a free jar of coconut oil here.