BWC Management talks about red wine & the heart of good health
You may have heard that a glass of red wine a day keeps the doctors away? Well, it appears there seems to be some truth to this, and that it’s not solely confined to the vaults of old wives’ tales. Red wine and something in red wine called resveratrol might apparently, be heart healthy.
So, what exactly is resveratrol?
It’s an antioxidant
Resveratrol is a type of natural phenol (chemical) and phytoalexin (fungal substance) that some plants produce in response to an injury or when under attack by pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. Sources of resveratrol in food include the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries and peanuts.
Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help to prevent coronary artery disease, the condition that leads to heart attacks. No doubt, news like this will be welcomed amongst oenophiles and wine lovers around the world. Having said that, caution should be exercised, because research is still in its infancy and some studies have shown no quantitative benefits. Still, many doctors agree that something in red wine appears to help your heart. Speculation is that it is possible that antioxidants such as flavonoids (beneficial microbes in fruits and vegetables) and resveratrol are beneficial.
And red wine is good for you
Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart and resveratrol, a polyphenol, seems to be the one that’s garnered the most attention. It’s believed resveratrol could be linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting. The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of the grapes because red wine is fermented with the skin longer than white wine. Though one might be able to get resveratrol by simply drinking grape juice or eating grapes, the presence of alcohol in small amounts appears to have beneficial effects. Various studies have found that all types of alcohol in moderate amounts can be good for you. It raises High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which is healthy cholesterol, reducing the formation of blood clots, helping to prevent the artery damage caused by Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), harmful cholesterol and may improve the function of the layer of cells that line your blood vessels.
Red wine and lifestyle
Red wine is often believed to be responsible for what is termed the ‘French Paradox’. This is because of the observation that the French have low rates of heart disease, despite the fact that they consume a lot of cholesterol and saturated fat. Though opinions are fragmented, some experts believe red wine is a dietary agent protecting the French population from the harmful effects of these nutrients. Regarding health and mortality, moderate consumption of red wine in Italy is also attributed to good health. Cannonau a red wine native to Sardinia, has been associated to a long life expectancy within the region well into the 90s. Cannonau is said to have the highest levels of polyphenols of any wine, hence the low rate of cardiovascular diseases. Family bonds, and eating food grown on the land are also important factors that cannot be overlooked.
So, what’s the verdict?
While there does not seem to be any conclusive evidence on the elixir qualities of red wine, it seems to be a debate that will be firing the imaginations of wine lovers and the health conscious for some time. Personally speaking, I’m of the opinion any opportunity that promotes friendly and loving social intercourse, laced with mirth and pips of laughter centred around a glass of wine is persona grata in my books.
Anthony Grant, BWC MANAGEMENT
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