Guillaume Brahimi on French eating and staying healthy

“No matter what social class you belong to, you sit down for lunch in France”

People sometimes remark that eating cheese and drinking red wine may contribute to French people’s good health.

But French-Australian chef Guillaume Brahimi says these ways aren’t a part of the diet that he knows. Instead, he thinks the French’s healthy habits include honouring meals and slowing down to savour food.

Lunch, a meal that here in Australia we expect to be quick and easy to devour, is a leisurely, planned affair in France. Often a French family will gather to cook something and take the time out of their day to eat. “No matter what social class you belong to, you sit down for lunch in France,” says Brahimi.

Part of this respect for meal times comes from the esteem that the French place on food. Branavie Ranjithakumaran, a Melbourne-based dietitian, says that the way they regard food differs from other parts of the West, where there’s an underlying fear about the damage food may cause to the body.

Ranjithakumaran says, “[In France], there is emphasis placed on the social and psychological aspects that come along with the food. It’s not enough to consume it in a short period of time. It’s a real point in the day to stop, slow down, and be mindful, then be able to reset for the rest of the day.”

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Is wine really good for you?

The key to deriving health benefits from wine is to drink it in moderation.

If you enjoy a glass of merlot, pinot noir or shiraz, you may be pleased to hear that red wine contains compounds that may also be beneficial to your health.

While red wine has been considered a celebratory and wholesome part of traditional diets in much of Europe for thousands of years, it wasn’t until research identifying the “French Paradox” (the observation that the French had lower rates of heart disease despite their high saturated fat intake, possibly because of their wine consumption) was publicized that Americans started embracing the health qualities of wine. In fact, moderate red wine intake is part of the Mediterranean-style dietary pattern, which is highlighted as one of the three healthy eating patterns recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The Mediterranean-style diet, one of the most widely studied diet patterns in history, has been linked with several health benefits, including lower risks of heart disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. Numerous clinical studies have linked moderate consumption of red wine with many specific benefits, including reduced risks of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, osteoporosis and infectious diseases. Overall, moderate red-wine consumption is linked with lower oxidative stress and healthier aging, according to researchers. Continue reading “Is wine really good for you?”