Resveratrol has been ‘in the news’ for nearly two decades. For example, 17 years ago, CBS News and Morely Safer did a story on Europeans who tend to eat a high fat diet, drink a lot of wine and have lower levels of fat and cholesterol than Americans. Studies at Harvard Medical School and the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Biology have found that ‘’Resveratrol, a natural compound found in the skin of red grapes and hence in red wine, may reduce the risk not only of heart disease but also of age related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. It might also counter the effects of a high-fat diet and even prolong life.’’
Resveratrol has the ability to prevent the first step that occurs when estrogen starts the process that leads to cancer. Scientists believe that this could stop the whole progression that leads to breast cancer down the road. This is because it was able to be done with fairly low concentrations of resveratrol. Those benefits were not the wine, per se, but the Resveratrol in the skin of the grapes used to make the wine. Resveratrol, a nutrient found in red wine, keeps estrogen from causing breast cancer in test-tube studies. Resveratrol increases production of an enzyme that destroys dangerous estrogen metabolites.
Research studies on the heart-health benefits of red wine have reported mixed results. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than is white wine, red wine contains more resveratrol. Some studies show that red wine seems to have even more heart-health benefits than other types of alcohol, while other studies show that red wine isn’t any better than beer. There’s still no clear evidence yet that red wine is superior to other forms of alcohol when it comes to possible heart-health benefits. It is noted that wines made from grapes of the Pinot Noir and St. Laurent varieties showed the highest level of trans-resveratrol, though no wine or region can yet be said to produce wines with significantly higher resveratrol concentrations than any other wine or region.
The studies supporting red wine suggest antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. These antioxidants come in two main forms: flavonoids and nonflavonoids.
Flavonoids. These antioxidants are found in a variety of foods, including oranges, grape juice, apples, onions, tea and cocoa. Other types of alcohol, such as white wine and beer, contain small amounts, too, but red wine has higher levels.
Nonflavonoids. These antioxidants found in red wine have recently been of particular interest because they appear to help prevent arteries from becoming clogged with fatty blockages. However, these studies mostly involved mice — not humans. Resveratrol is the nonflavonoid that’s received the most attention from researchers. Wines thought to contain the highest amounts of flavonoids are Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir
Does red wine protect against heart disease? Many studies investigated the benefits of red wine suggested that moderate amount of red wine (one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men) lowers the risk of heart attack for people in middle age by 30 to 50 percent. A drink is defined as 5 oz of wine. The limit for men is higher because men generally weigh more and have more of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than women do. Sorry ladies.
It is also suggested that alcohol such as red wine may prevent additional heart attacks if you have already suffered from one. Other studies also indicated that red wine can raise HDL cholesterol (the Good cholesterol) and prevent LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) from forming. Red wine may help prevent blood clots and reduce the blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits. Studies showed that people from the Mediterranean region who drank red wine regularly have lower risks of heart disease. Another study published in January, 2003, in the American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that moderate, regular consumption of wine or beer decreases the risk of peptic ulcers and may help to rid the body of the bacteria suspected of causing them.
However, more research is needed before we know whether red wine is better for your heart than are other forms of alcohol, such as beer or spirits.
Another study showed that red and white wine were effective in controlling the growth of several strains of streptococci bacteria that are involved in tooth decay, and some cases of sore throat. “Overall, our findings seem to indicate that wine can act as an effective antimicrobial agent against the tested pathogenic oral streptococci and might be active in caries and upper respiratory tract pathologies prevention,” (Gabriella Gazzani July Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.)
Then there is the matter of sulfites. Sulfites exist in nature and are also naturally contained in or even added to preserve a very long list of many common foods, including wine, cheese, yogurt and other processed dairy, bread and baked goods, tortillas, dried fruits, dried spices, shellfish, dried seafood, canned, bottled, or frozen fruits and juices, jams and jellies, tofu and other soy protein products, packaged pasta or rice mixes, etc.. The human body actually produces about 1 gram of sulfites daily. According to the USDA, Foods may legally contain sulfites at levels ranging from 6 to 600 parts per million. The legal maximum for wine is 350 ppm, but the average content in premium wine is under 40 ppm. White wines are generally higher in sulfites than red wines. Inexpensive wines generally have higher sulfur content than expensive wines. There are no wines that are entirely sulfite-free, even those labeled “organic”.
6 Reasons Why a Little Glass of Wine Each Day May Do You Good
- Feed your head. Wine could preserve your memory
- Keep the scale in your closet. Studies find that people who drink wine daily have lower body mass.
- Boost your body’s defenses. In one British study, those who drank a glass of wine a day reduced their risk of infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, a major cause of gastritis, ulcers, and stomach cancers by 11%.
- Guard against ovarian woes. Australian researchers recently compared women with ovarian cancer to cancer-free women they found that roughly one glass of wine a day seemed to reduce the risk of the disease by as much as 50 percent.
- Build better bones. On average, women who drink moderately seem to have higher bone mass than abstainers
- Prevent blood-sugar trouble. Premenopausal women who drink a glass of wine a day are 40 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, than women who don’t drink. If you already drink red wine, do so in moderation.
Chris Mauch, International Wine Markets
This information published by the writer or made available through the PRP web site is not intended to replace the services of a physician and is for your general information only.
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