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Love Life Doldrums

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Can't Get to the Gym? Drink This to Slow Muscle Loss

Wine lovers, rejoice! On those days when you're pressed for time and just can't squeeze in your 30-minute walk (you do take one, yes?), pop open a bottle of vino and enjoy the health benefits of red wine as you indulge in a nip of your favorite vintage.

A surprising new study has found that resveratrol health benefits -- the heart-protecting ingredient found in red wine -- include the ability to slow muscle loss associated with too much sitting around.

Use It or Lose It? Maybe Not
Looking for ways to prevent some of the toll spaceflight takes on astronauts -- muscle wasting, bone thinning, insulin resistance -- scientists subjected two groups to weightless conditions for 15 days, and gave one group resveratrol supplements. The supplements group emerged with their muscles, bones, and insulin systems humming along. The group that did without resveratrol wasn't so lucky.

The effects of space flight and a sedentary lifestyle are similar, say scientists, and while resveratrol is no substitute for skipping exercise altogether, it could be a way to slow muscle loss if you're sidelined by an injury or chained to your desk during a nonstop work week.

Wine: It Does a Body Good
Resveratrol is an antioxidant that's abundant in the skin of red grapes, which is why red wine has such a stash. While its ability to maintain muscle mass needs to be confirmed, resveratrol is one of those plant nutrients that's been piling up health benefits left and right. Among the latest: Recent research has found that resveratrol helps reduce body fat, contains powerful anti-cancer agents, and might help you live longer. We'll drink to that!

If red wine isn't your thing, you can still reap reservatrol health benefits by munching on peanuts or a handful of blueberries -- both contain the natural chemical -- or red grapes, of course! Or those supplements.

September, 2011