While red wine benefits have long been heralded for their ability to help ward off heart disease, new studies now suggest that the reason for their powers has nothing to do with the alcohol in the wine, after all. Doctors have never suggested red wine for the nondrinker and only recommended it for the existing red wine drinker in moderation. But a new study out of Spain indicates that the real hero of hearts is found in the grape, not the fermentation process.
The power ingredient of red wine is a polyphenol antioxidant called Resveratrol. This ingredient is found in the grape and is said to help protect linings of heart blood vessels and help prevent heart disease by increasing good cholesterol levels and protecting the arteries from damage. It must be said that much of the study of Resveratrol has been conducted on animals, rather than people. The research in mice who were injected with the ingredient shows that the mice were protected from such conditions as obesity and diabetes, both of which are linked to heart diseases. The problem with the study done on animals is that for a human to get the same size dose of Resveratrol that the mice received, a person would need to consume over 60 liters of red wine a day. So it’s hard to tell how much impact a smaller dose would have, if any.
Red wine has also been linked to reduced occurrences of inflammation and clotting of the blood, too. Both of these can lead to heart disease, so reducing that is a major coup. But the big news for consumers is that the same great benefits could be gained from drinking grape juice or non-alcoholic red wines. Additionally, Resveratrol is also found in peanuts, cranberries and blueberries, making it more readily available if you’d prefer to abstain from alcohol.
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The studies of Resveratrol and red wine are still in their infancy and should not be taken as fact just yet. Numerous more studies will need to be conducted before it can be suggested to everyone to prevent heart disease, but all signs look good right now.