The 'French Paradox' is the observation that the French suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats. The term French paradox was coined by Dr. Serge Renaud, a scientist from Bordeaux University in France in 1992.
Health experts around the world are puzzled as they try to discover the 'secret' behind the French Paradox. The problem is that the French consume three times as much saturated fat as Americans and one-third less French people die from heart attacks. The French also have much less obesity than other Western countries.
The French eat rich foods high in saturated fats, such as cream, butter, pastry and rich cheeses. But they also consume red wine and olive oil. Some scientists believe the French habit of moderate red wine drinking with a meal is the key to the French paradox. Studies show that people who drink red wine regularly have lower rates of cancer, Alzheimer and heart disease.
Medical experts generally agree that a low-fat diet, exercise, and not smoking minimize the risk of heart attacks, which makes this paradox difficult to understand. In the book 'In Defence of Food', Michael Pollan suggests the explanation is not any single nutrient, but the combination of nutrients found in unprocessed food; ?the whole length and breadth of nutrients found in 'natural' foods as opposed to 'processed' foods.
Red wine and red grapes contain special flavonoid antioxidants called resveratrol that can offset some of the effects of gluttony, say researchers at Harvard Medical School. Resveratrol is shown to help lower glucose levels, help your liver and promote health benefits to the heart and blood vessels. Researchers are finding that antioxidants seem to trigger receptors in your upper intestine that tell your brain you are full.
Note: Please consult your medical professional before making any drastic changes to your diet.