Summer’s gone and September light in Bucharest is pretty amazing. I much prefer it to that of summer days, even though there’s something to be said for mornings and sunsets on summer days.
Every two years in Bucharest we have the George Enescu international classical music festival in Bucharest. I remember from all the performances I’ve been to not only some of the music and atmosphere but also walking through the city on Calea Victoriei to get there, the sun dappling the leaves of trees and bathing the city in a warm, pleasant light, setting the mood for the concerts and prolonging the concerts’ mood on my way home.
It’s wonderful when there are events that become associated with certain months. It makes us more alert to the qualities of said months! Also the foods. We have butternut squash in the fall. It’s not very common for people here to make American-style pies or soup with it but we do use it in some other pastries. We also enjoy it roasted. I can’t wait for that. Have been eating apples and nectarines so far (and lots of kidney-cleansing watermelon in summer). By the way, Hungarians make soup with peaches in the fall.
There are lots of foods I can’t eat now that I have a gluten sensitivity, and one of the things I really miss are Romanian-style rectangular butternut squash pies (with two layers of dough and butternut squash purée in between). I should try to recreate them with gluten-free flours, but I doubt I could get the pastry as soft and melt-in-your-mouth as they make it at various pastry shops around metro stations, for instance.
Fall is also the time when theater companies return to the city. The irony, however, is that I usually see more plays in the summer, when empty theaters invite various productions, or when invited troupes come to Bucharest as part of theater festivals (not many of those recently, from what I’ve seen).
After the many festivals of summer we’re having only a few concerts this fall (going to a jazz concert soon), but as I said, there are plenty of theater performances. Romania’s capital city has about forty theater companies.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or health practitioner, and no part of This Blog, or the websites and products I mention and link to on This Blog, is intended as professional medical or health advice, and should not be considered as such. Consult with your doctor(s) about starting any course of treatment, taking any supplements, or changing any (dietary, exercise, etc.) routines. Note that natural supplements and even some foods may interfere with certain medications. Here are my Full Terms and Conditions.
Back to foods for a moment, since fall foods led me to think of grapes, I recently saw on a TV documentary that the studies concluding that resveratrol is so healthy for us were actually made using far larger quantities of red grapes and red wine. The presenter pointed to a table full of bottles of red wine. Normally it’s tricky to take supplements that contain far more of a substance than we can ingest from foods—large quantities of antioxidants can actually lead to cancer rather than prevent it. But resveratrol does so many wonderful things. In the study mentioned on TV it extended the life of some of the lab animals by up to 40%. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumoral properties, and it helps prevent cognitive decline and even fights the formation of cancerous cells, among other things. Of course, resveratrol’s most famous health benefit is that it’s good for the heart, and, indeed, according to some studies it does reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (according to others, however, it doesn’t).
The metastudy I’m looking at mentions a study with doses of 25, 50, 100, or 150 mg of trans-resveratrol administered to healthy adults, along with other research, including a study with doses of up to 500 mg and then 1,000 mg, which is huge, in patients with Alzheimer’s. And they did note a decrease in brain volume, albeit with no noticed cognitive decline, in one of the studies. That sounds rather scary, though. And those are huge quantities, by any measure. The question then is, how much resveratrol is there in a bottle of red wine, anyway? Apparently 12.59 mg per liter at the most. And the metastudy referenced above, one that looked at ten years of human clinical studies on resveratrol, mentions one study where 59 “high-risk” adults “at high cardiovascular risk” drank 272 ml of red wine (with or without alcohol) a day for four weeks to good effects, i.e. their health improved some from the resveratrol.
Whether you decide on taking any or not, please don’t play with your health—“high-risk individuals at high cardiovascular risk” drinking wine doesn’t sound all that great to me—and consult with your doctors first. I’m shocked when I see supplements with 500 mg or 1,500 mg of resveratrol. To my mind, something like that can throw the body (way) out of balance rather than help it. Consider that the body reacts strongly even to good, healthy teas or a nice glass of red wine. Imagine then throwing its way the equivalent of dozens of bottles of red wine in one day.
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When I personally take resveratrol, every few months, I take 30 mg.
But again, each person is different. Do talk to your doctors. To give you some examples of what may happen when you don’t, here are a few stories. I recently experienced some health problems and went to see a dermatologist. She told me that someone came with some skin problems on his face. I can’t remember what he was dealing with initially but when he came to the dr. he had necrosis because someone had advised him to put crushed garlic on his skin. Another patient had burned his skin with propolis. And so on and so forth.
As for coenzyme Q10, we get a few mg here and a few mg there from food, and lots from pork and beef heart (113 mg/kg for beef heart). Aside from pork and beef heart and other organ meats, oily fish like sardines and herrings are the best sources, but we also get some from poultry, olive oil, nuts, and vegetables like broccoli and spinach. Some medical sources online say that we get enough from food—note that the body produces it as well—if we’re healthy, but Healthline recommends 90-120 mg per day “typically”—as with everything, the actual recommended amounts vary from individual to individual. Healthline points to the fact that statins interfere with the production of CoQ10, and that according to some studies, but not to all, CoQ10 counteracts some of the side effects of statins. According to the afore-mentioned article on Healthline, coenzyme Q10 lowers LDL cholesterol, helps with migraine headaches, improves blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes, and so on.
I personally haven’t looked into CoQ10 much for some reason, even as it was always present in my mind and I kept finding notes on it here and there. For the most part I took it to be something for older people, which, to a large extent, it is. Now that I’m in my mid-forties, I’m considering it for myself, since as we age our bodies produce less of it. According to some medical professionals, however, I shouldn’t worry too much about it until I hit sixty, but as it stimulates the body to produce more physical energy, I just might, because I don’t seem to be doing all that well on that front.
I see I’ve been rambling about health again in this post, and I actually meant to write a post about autumn light and events.
I’m always drawn to health topics, though, and resveratrol and CoQ10 have been on my mind for a while, since I’m not sure whether to take them regularly or not. I’ll have to consult with a dr. soon. I hope you will too. Make sure you ask about drug interactions. CoQ10 may decrease the efficiency of blood thinners like Warfarin, for instance, leading to increased risk of blood clotting. These are serious issues. Be very careful when it comes to taking natural supplements.
To a healthier, happier life,
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