Red Wine Can Protect Your Heart?

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Glass of red wine. Can red wine protect our heart?Red wine, long associated with the Mediterranean Diet has been considered “heart healthy” since the diet high in healthy olive oil, garlic and spices became popular. But is a moderate amount of red wine truly healthy? Or is it healthy only for its connection with the Mediterranean Diet?

The link between red wine and a decreased risk for heart disease is still unclear, but physicians and researchers do agree that something in it helps your heart, it may be the antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, that provide these heart-healthy benefits. These same antioxidants also increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol. Red wine also contains polyphenols (resveratrol is one) that may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart and circulatory system.

Resveratrol is also linked to a lower risk of inflammation and blood clotting, which can lead to heart disease. The resveratrol in this beverage comes directly from the skin of the grapes used to make wine. Because red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than is white wine, it contains more resveratrol and may provide more health benefits. If you prefer to live alcohol-free, eating grapes, and drinking grape juice, MAY be one way to get a healthy dose of resveratrol without alcohol. Dark grape juices may have some of the same heart-healthy benefits as red wine.

Unrelated foods that contain resveratrol include peanuts, blueberries and cranberries, the amount of resveratrol in these foods (and red wine) can vary greatly.

Does the alcohol in red wine help your heart?

Recent studies suggest that moderate amounts of alcohol may benefit your heart as it:

  • Raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
  • Thins your blood and reduces the formation of blood clots.
  • Prevents artery damage caused by high levels of LDL cholesterol.
  • May improve the endothelium, the layer of cells that line your blood vessels.

Drink In Moderation

No one is suggesting that you start drinking to prevent heart disease. Alcohol is often addictive and can cause many other health problems. If you do or choose to drink red wine, do so in moderation. Healthy adults should limit alcohol to one drink a day for women, one drink a day for men over age 65, and two drinks a day for men younger than 65. The difference in limits between men and women is directly related to body mass and the fact that men often have more of the enzymes that metabolize alcohol than women.

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