Why Red Wine Gives You Headaches

Want to enjoy a few glasses of wine without the pain in your brain? New research suggests an antioxidant might be to...

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The longevity connection

  • The reason to eat more leftovers

  • Solving red wine headaches

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The Longevity Connection

Your muscles aren’t the only thing you want to build if you’re interested in longevity; building meaningful relationships can also significantly influence how long you live.

According to new research on more than 450,000 people over 12 years, scientists found that individuals who reported stronger social connections and support networks experienced lower mortality rates compared to those with weaker social ties. Those who didn’t connect with friends or family had a 39 percent increased risk of death for all causes. That aligns with other research that showed how loneliness and a lack of connection were linked to approximately a 30 percent increase in cardiovascular disease and stroke. 

This doesn’t mean you need to make many friends. The benefits of connection are more about depth and meaning, not quantity. According to the study, you’ll see potential life-expanding benefits if you confide in friends or family, live with someone else, or engage in group activities and other shared experiences. 

The presence of meaningful social connections can provide emotional support, reduce stress levels, and contribute to better mental well-being—all of which can positively influence physical health outcomes. 

We know the holiday season can be challenging and emotional, so look for any connection — virtual or online count too — to help you feel like you’re a part of something.

Why Leftover Carbs Are Less Caloric

Your leftover rice and pasta might be healthier than you think. That’s because cooling starchy foods could give them unexpected health benefits and reduce how many calories they contain.

When rice and pasta are chilled after cooking, their chemical structure changes into “resistant starch,” a dietary fiber and a prebiotic that promotes a healthy microbiome. This can enhance digestive health and support your immune system.

Resistant starch appears to bend the law of calories, so your body absorbs approximately half as many calories as regular starch. That’s because resistant starch is not completely digested, meaning you absorb fewer calories from those foods. 

So, instead of the normal four calories per gram of carbohydrate, you only digest two calories from resistant starch. If you ate 100 grams of carbs from resistant starch, instead of digesting 400 calories, you would only digest approximately 200 calories. Also, resistant starch has less impact on blood sugar levels, making it an excellent choice for those aiming to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Resistant starch can be found in potatoes, less-ripe (think green) bananas, legumes, whole grains, and cooked and cooled rice or pasta. Plus, it gives you extra fiber, which can help control your appetite, lower cholesterol, and protect against cardiovascular disease. 

Solving Red Wine Headaches

Ever wonder why that glass of red wine seems to cause so much trouble? Scientists might have finally figured out the curious relationship. 

A new study suggests that an antioxidant in grapes affects how you process alcohol, and that’s why a nice glass of wine can cause your head to pound. 

The antioxidant (quercetin glucuronide) appears to interact with the enzyme (ALDH2) that helps you metabolize alcohol. When the enzyme functioning slows down, toxic byproducts build up, and you get a headache. 

While more research is needed, this finding might help you avoid the discomfort. If you don’t like the headaches, a shift in wine color could work. White wines have the grape skin removed, meaning lower levels of antioxidants that could cause problems. And don’t worry — you’re not missing any health benefits. Previous research that suggested the red wines were “healthy” has since been debunked. 

If you still want to drink red wine, make sure you’re hydrated and have some food (ideally protein and fat) in your system. You could take an anti-inflammatory (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen) before drinking, but if you’re going to have more than a drink or two, that could backfire and cause more issues. As always, drink responsibly and remember that anything more than a few drinks per week is associated with health problems.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell