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Study: Red Wine Does Your Heart Good

A study showed that the intake of red wine containing polyphenols can inhibit the decline of vascular function associated with old age.


The function of the blood vessels has the natural tendency to decline in efficiency as the person grows older. And this has been linked to different age-related health conditions like cardiovascular disease. The good news is:  there’s red wine.

Polyphenols in Red Wine to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

A study conducted by a team of French researchers found that dietary supplementation of red wine containing high levels of polyphenols can slow down the decline of vascular function, which is normally associated with aging. For their preliminary investigation, the researchers used rat subjects to observe the effects of red wine’s polyphenols to the cardiovascular system. They found that polyphenols can inhibit the dysfunction of the cell lining of the blood vessels called the endothelium.

The researchers from the University of Strasbourg, France said that their findings indicate that the intake of polyphenols through the regular drinking of red wine at a younger age can help reduce endothelial dysfunction and physical decline as the person grows older. They added that the mechanism behind the proposed health benefit of red wine is linked with the antioxidant property of polyphenols, or its ability to reduce vascular oxidative stress by inhibiting the production of the   enzyme NADPH oxidase, which has been found to be responsible for the hardening of the arteries and in increasing a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The study, led by French scientist Valerie Schini-Kerth, used four groups of Wistar rats. The control group received 3 percent of ethanol while the second and third groups were given 25 and 75 milligrams of polyphenols from red wine per kilogram of body weight in 3 percent ethanol, respectively. The fourth group was given the antioxidant and NADPH oxidase apocynin at a dosage of 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight a day in 3 percent ethanol. The rats were 16 weeks old at the beginning of the study and it continued until they were 40 weeks old.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that three groups that received supplementation of polyphenols had lower levels of age-related vascular oxidative stress in the area of the endothelium. In addition, the group that received higher supplementation of polyphenols had a lower decline in physical performance compared to the control group.

The Health Benefits of Red Wine

The moderate drinking of red wine has been considered good for the health due to its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants have been found to reduce bad cholesterol levels while increasing the good cholesterol in the body; inhibit the production of inflammatory enzymes; and protect the cardiovascular system against the damage caused by oxidative stress. Despite the numerous potential health benefits of red wine, medical experts are doubtful about encouraging people to start drinking red wine due to the harmful effects of alcohol abuse. But they still agree that the antioxidants in red wine are extremely good for the health, especially to the heart.

The studies supporting the health benefits of red wine show that it contains more antioxidants than any other alcoholic beverage. Red wine contains a group of antioxidants called polyphenols that had been found to protect the lining of the blood vessels against oxidative stress. The two main forms of polyphenols are flavonoids and nonflavonoids.

Flavonoids are found in different food sources other than red wine. These include cocoa, tea, onions, apples, grape juice and oranges. Nonflavonoids, on the other hand, are efficient in preventing the clogging of the arteries with fatty substances. The studies supporting these claims are only limited to animal subjects and studies on humans are yet to be performed. Amongst the widely studied nonpolyphenol antioxidant content of red wine is resveratrol.

Resveratrol in Red Wine

Resveratrol is primarily found in the skin surface of red grapes. Red wine is rich in resveratrol since it is fermented with the skin intact. Numerous studies have found that resveratrol is effective in preventing the accumulation of fatty substances on the inner surface of the arteries. Studies on mice show that resveratrol can reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes – health conditions that are risk factors of heart disease. But to come in proportion with the resveratrol dosage used in the mice subjects, a person would need to drink 100 to 1,000 bottles of red wine in a day. This is not a problem since food supplements containing high dosages of resveratrol are widely available.

Other related studies on resveratrol found that the compound can be effective in reducing the production of inflammatory substances in the body. Heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are triggered by inflammation. Further studies are yet to be conducted in order to clearly determine the health benefits of resveratrol to the human body.

Natural Ways to Promote Heart Health

Promoting a healthier heart starts with eating the right kind of foods and having sufficient exercise. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and in other parts of the world. Studies found that heart disease can run in the family, but they also suggest that heart disease can be developed by unhealthy diet and the lack of exercise.

The foods that we eat have the strongest influence over the condition of our health. A diet rich in fat, low in fiber and insufficient in nutrients can lead to a higher risk in developing certain health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancer. But this can be reversed by simply increasing our intake of fiber and important nutrients, and limiting our consumption of foods rich in fats. An increase in the levels of bad cholesterol is a strong indication of increased cardiovascular risk. This can be controlled by eating more brightly colored vegetables and whole grain foods, and less red meat. The accumulation of cholesterol can lead to the formation of cholesterol plaques on the walls of the arteries which can lead to an obstructed blood flow.

Exercise is very important. Not only does it keep the body performing well but it also helps in improving metabolism and burning excess fats. Certain vices like smoking and binge drinking can also adversely affect the heart so it is advised that these be avoided.


Sources

nutraingredients.com
today.msnbc.msn.com
mayoclinic.com
healthtree.com
healthcastle.com
essortment.com

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  2. Can Red Wine Control Obesity?
  3. Moderate Wine Consumption May Delay Alzheimer’s Disease, Research Shows
  4. Love Pistachios? Your Heart Does, Too!
  5. The “Miracle Mineral” Selenium Aids In The Reduction of Heart Disease, Study Finds
  


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