Wine Health Benefits

Wine is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages on the planet. Its history spans thousands of years and while heavy drinking of any alcoholic beverage rather brings lots of health-related troubles instead of benefits, current research suggests that a glass of red wine each day may be providing you with more than just a little relaxation.1

Alzheimer's disease

Sep 29, 2009

Moderate wine drinking correlates with a lower risk for Alzheimer's disease. Researchers found that resveratrol, a red wine polyphenol, produces neuroprotective effects.

Atherosclerosis

Sep 29, 2009

Red wine may prevent the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis (hardening or "furring" of the arteries). Atherosclerosis starts when blood vessels begin to lose their ability to relax. Both the alcohol and polyphenols in the red wine appear to favorably maintain healthy blood vessels by promoting the formation of nitric oxide (NO), the key chemical relaxing factor that plays an important role in the regulation of vascular tone.

Red wine may prevent the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis (hardening or "furring" of the arteries). Atherosclerosis starts when blood vessels begin to lose their ability to relax. Both the alcohol and polyphenols in the red wine appear to favorably maintain healthy blood vessels by promoting the formation of nitric oxide (NO), the key chemical relaxing factor that plays an important role in the regulation of vascular tone.

Blood clots

Sep 29, 2009

Red wine produces anticlotting, or antithrombotic, action. Light to moderate consumers of wine have lower levels of protein fibrinogen which promotes blood clot formation.

Drink in the Flavonoids

Sep 29, 2009

Belief in the medicinal value of wine is as old as wine itself. The Pharmacopoeia of the United States of America, sixth decennial revision, published in 1882, has listings for 14 different preparations of wine, from vinum album, or white wine, made "from the unmodified juice of the grape, freed from seeds, stems, and skins," to vinum rubrum, or red wine, made "by fermenting the juice of colored grapes in presence of their skins."

Belief in the medicinal value of wine is as old as wine itself. The Pharmacopoeia of the United States of America, sixth decennial revision, published in 1882, has listings for 14 different preparations of wine, from vinum album, or white wine, made "from the unmodified juice of the grape, freed from seeds, stems, and skins," to vinum rubrum, or red wine, made "by fermenting the juice of colored grapes in presence of their skins."

The deep, beautiful purple-red color of red wine is produced by a substance called anthocyanin, which is found in the skin of the grape. In addition to the color of red wine, we can thank anthocyanins for the deep red-purple-black color of black olives; and the berry-red color of strawberries, cherries, and raspberries.

Anthocyanin is one of the four main groups of chemicals that together are called flavonoids. Found in many plants and especially in deeply colored fruits and vegetables, flavonoids are important chemicals in plants.

Drink in the Flavonoids

Research has shown many potential medical uses for flavonoids. For example, they regulate cell growth, function as antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and prevent blood clots.

Red wine may also reduce oxidative stress caused by increased blood glucose levels after meals, according to Antonio Ceriello, MD, and associates. In a research letter published in the December 1999 issue of Diabetes Care, Dr. Ceriello and associates presented data showing that consumption of two 5-ounce glasses of red wine with a meal by subjects with type 2 diabetes significantly reduced the compounds produced by the test meal that could cause vascular damage by the mechanism of "oxidative stress." (Oxidation of LDL "bad" cholesterol causes fatty buildup in the arteries.)

Heart disease

Sep 29, 2009

One of the well-known and most studied benefits of red wine is its heart protective effect. Moderate consumption of red wine on a regular basis may be a preventative against coronary heart disease. Scientists believe the red wine reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

One of the well-known and most studied benefits of red wine is its heart protective effect. Moderate consumption of red wine on a regular basis may be a preventative against coronary heart disease. Scientists believe the red wine reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Hypertension

Sep 29, 2009

 Excessive alcohol consumption is generally considered a risk factor for hypertension. However, there is some evidence of favorable effects of red wine on blood pressure. Two glasses of red wine (250 ml), taken together with the meal, lower post-meal blood pressure in hypertensive persons.

 Excessive alcohol consumption is generally considered a risk factor for hypertension. However, there is some evidence of favorable effects of red wine on blood pressure. Two glasses of red wine (250 ml), taken together with the meal, lower post-meal blood pressure in hypertensive persons.

Kidney stones

Sep 29, 2009

Red wine intake reduces the risk of kidney stone formation

Red Vs. Smoking

Sep 29, 2009

Smoking: Acute smoking significantly impairs vessels' natural ability to relax, or vasodilate. Red wine, with or without alcohol, decreases the harmful effect of smoking on the endothelium - layer of cells that provide a friction-reducing lining in lymph vessels, blood vessels, and the heart

Smoking: Acute smoking significantly impairs vessels' natural ability to relax, or vasodilate. Red wine, with or without alcohol, decreases the harmful effect of smoking on the endothelium - layer of cells that provide a friction-reducing lining in lymph vessels, blood vessels, and the heart

Red Wine Can Help Maintain Immune System, UF Researcher Finds

Sep 29, 2009

Unlike many other alcoholic beverages, red wine does not suppress the immune system, according to preliminary studies at the University of Florida. While red wine has been reported to aid in the prevention of coronary heart disease and some cancers, no one has studied whether its alcohol content might offset any benefits, said food science and human nutrition researcher Susan Percival.

Unlike many other alcoholic beverages, red wine does not suppress the immune system, according to preliminary studies at the University of Florida. While red wine has been reported to aid in the prevention of coronary heart disease and some cancers, no one has studied whether its alcohol content might offset any benefits, said food science and human nutrition researcher Susan Percival.

So Percival, who specializes in nutrition and immunity, conducted a study to find out if red wine affects the immune system. Her research shows that the circulating white blood cells that fight infection are not helped -- or hurt -- by red wine.

"There's been a lot of publicity lately on the health benefits of red wine, but we also know that alcohol suppresses the immune system," said Percival, a researcher in UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "So we wanted to find out whether red wine had a suppressive effect on immunity."

In the eight-week study, laboratory mice were divided into four groups of drinkers: teetotalers, who drank only water; wine drinkers, with one group getting cabernet sauvignon and the other getting muscadine wine; and ethanol drinkers, who received alcohol in concentrations equivalent to that in the wine.

The study was designed to replicate moderate alcohol consumption for people, so the mice were given the equivalent of two or three glasses, or servings, of wine or alcohol per day.

After the mice had established a drinking habit, Percival made the mice mildly ill to see how their immune systems would respond under the influence of alcohol.

The mice who were drinking ethanol experienced a suppressed immune response, while the mice who drank wine maintained normal immunity.

"We found that the animals that consumed straight ethanol had lower levels of white blood cells than any other group," Percival said. "However, the same amount of alcohol, consumed as red wine, resulted in no suppression of the immune response.

"What this suggests," Percival said, "is that there's something in red wine that prevents suppression of the immune system. So it's OK to drink a glass of red wine. You can get the benefits without any apparent harm on immunity."

Percival said there are many different compounds in red wine and in grapes that could be contributing to the results, but she has not yet pinpointed which specific compound aids in maintaining normal immunity. The rich pigment in red wine is due to antioxidants and blood tests showed that mice who drank wine had two times more antioxidant capacity than the animals who drank ethanol or water.

Percival used cabernet sauvignon and muscadine wine to see if the variety of wine affected the immune response. The cabernet grapes came from California and the muscadine grapes from a local vineyard in North Central Florida. The wines were made at the food science and human nutrition department by researcher Charlie Sims.

Percival said she found the comparison of muscadine and cabernet inconclusive. Tests of enzymes in the liver, which detoxifies alcohol for the body, showed some differences between how the liver processed the two wines. Percival said she hopes to do further studies to determine whether muscadine might have greater protective effects because of its greater concentration of antioxidants.

"I was surprised to find no immune system suppression from the red wine, and we still don't know what it is that prevented the suppression," Percival said. "So we'd like to take this further and eventually look at this process in people."

Red wine ingredient is a 'wonderdrug'

Sep 30, 2009

An ingredient of red wine really is a 'wonderdrug', claim scientists, after research suggested it kills cancer cells and protects the heart and brain from damage.

An ingredient of red wine really is a 'wonderdrug', claim scientists, after research suggested it kills cancer cells and protects the heart and brain from damage.

Researchers claim moderate drinking of red wine appears to reduce "all causes of mortality" and protects people from age-related disorders such as dementia, diabetes and high blood pressure.

They said that the key ingredient appears to be resveratrol which in small doses acts as an antioxidant protecting organs but in larger quantities kills dangerous cancer cells.

The breadth of benefits is remarkable – cancer prevention, protection of the heart and brain from damage, reducing age-related diseases such as inflammation, reversing diabetes and obesity, and many more," said Professor Lindsay Brown of the University of Queensland.

The conclusions were drawn by Professor Brown and her team after a "mini review" of a number of recent studies about the health benefits of red wine published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

The biochemists said that red wine appears to contain a number of antioxidants - naturally-occurring protective compounds - which are good for your health but that resveratrol was the most powerful.

They concluded that it "shows therapeutic potential" for cancer and heart disease and may aid in the prevention of age-related disorders that affect the brain and the body.

The ability to protect healthy cells but kill diseased ones was still puzzling scientists, the study claimed, but they said the most likely explanation was low concentrations "activate survival mechanisms of cells while high concentrations turn on the inbuilt death signals in these cells".

But the researchers warned that moderation was the key as too much drinking causes multiple organ damage.

Professor Stephen Taylor, also at the University of Queensland, said that resveratrol is the "compound du jour" and that its beauty was that it is a medicine most people enjoy taking.

"I think that red wine has both some mystique and some historical symbolism in the west and of course, some various pleasures attached to its ingestion, all of which give it a psychological advantage edge, food-wise," he said.

He said "not many of us can or will eat a couple of cups of blueberries a day for years on end" but we were happy to have a glass of wine.

Professor Brown said the research was starting to explain reports from the last 200 years that drinking red wine improves health.

"It is a cliché that nature is a treasure trove of compounds," she said. "But studies with resveratrol show that this is correct. We need to understand better the vast array of compounds that exist in nature, and determine their potential benefits to health."

Red Wine Protects The Prostate

Sep 29, 2009

Researchers have found that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who do not drink red wine, reports the June 2007 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. In addition, red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers.

Researchers have found that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who do not drink red wine, reports the June 2007 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. In addition, red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers.

Researchers in Seattle collected information about many factors that might influence the risk of prostate cancer in men between ages 40 and 64, including alcohol consumption. At first the results for alcohol consumption seemed similar to the findings of many earlier studies: There was no relationship between overall consumption and risk.

But the scientists went one step further by evaluating each type of alcoholic beverage independently. Here the news was surprising—wine drinking was linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. And when white wine was compared with red, red had the most benefit. Even low amounts seemed to help, and for every additional glass of red wine per week, the relative risk declined by 6%.

Why red wine? Doctors don’t know. But much of the speculation focuses on chemicals—including various flavonoids and resveratrol—missing from other alcoholic beverages. These components have antioxidant properties, and some appear to counterbalance androgens, the male hormones that stimulate the prostate.

Many doctors are reluctant to recommend drinking alcohol for health, fearing that their patients might assume that if a little alcohol is good, a lot might be better. The Harvard Men’s Health Watch notes that men who enjoy alcohol and can drink in moderation and responsibly may benefit from a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cardiac death.

Red Wine Vs. Cancer

Sep 29, 2009

Red wine is a rich source of biologically active phytochemicals, chemicals found in plants. Particular compounds called polyphenols found in red wine-such as catechins and resveratrol-are thought to have anti oxidant or anti cancer properties.

Red wine is a rich source of biologically active phytochemicals, chemicals found in plants. Particular compounds called polyphenols found in red wine-such as catechins and resveratrol-are thought to have anti oxidant or anti cancer properties.

1. What are polyphenols and how do they prevent cancer?

Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds found in the skin and seeds of grapes. When wine is made from these grapes, the alcohol produced by the fermentation process dissolves the polyphenols contained in the skin and seeds. Red wine contains more polyphenols than white wine because the making of white wine requires the removal of the skins after the grapes are crushed. The phenols in red wine include catechin, gallic acid and epicatechin.

Polyphenols have been found to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by molecules called free radicals. These chemicals can damage important parts of cells, including proteins, membranes and DNA. Cellular damage caused by free radicals has been implicated in the development of cancer. Research on the antioxidants found in red wine has shown that they may help inhibit the development of certain cancers.

2. What is resveratrol and how does it prevent cancer?

Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol called a phytoalexin, a class of compounds produced as part of a plant's defense system against disease. It is produced in the plant in response to an invading fungus, stress, injury, infection or ultraviolet irradiation. Red wine contains high levels of resveratrol, as do grapes, raspberries, peanuts and other plants.

Resveratrol has been shown to reduce tumor incidence in animals by affecting one or more stages of cancer development. It has been shown to inhibit growth of many types of cancer cells in culture. Evidence also exists that it can reduce inflammation. It also reduces activation of NF kappa B, a protein produced by the body's immune system when it is under attack. This protein affects cancer cell growth and metastasis. Resveratrol is also an antioxidant.

3. What have red wine studies found?

The cell and animal studies of red wine have examined effects in several cancers including leukemia, skin, breast and prostate cancers. Scientists are studying resveratrol to learn more about its cancer preventive activities. Recent evidence from animal studies suggests this anti-inflammatory compound may be an effective chemopreventive agent in three stages of the cancer process: initiation, promotion and progression.

Research studies published in the International Journal of Cancer show that drinking a glass of red wine a day may cut a man's risk of prostate cancer in half and that the protective effect appears to be strongest against the most aggressive forms of the disease. It was also seen that men who consumed four or more 4-ounce glasses of red wine per week have a 60 percent lower incidence of the more aggressive types of prostate cancer.

However, studies of the association between red wine consumption and cancer in humans are in their initial stages. Although consumption of large amounts of alcoholic beverages may increase the risk of some cancers, there is growing evidence that the health benefits of red wine are related to its nonalcoholic components.

The health benefits of white wine

Oct 1, 2009

Move over, red.

A study published in September in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry compared the antioxidant effects of resveratrol (from red) and tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol (from white) on rats. The results suggest that white wine is just as powerful as red in improving heart function and preventing artery blockage.

Move over, red.

A study published in September in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry compared the antioxidant effects of resveratrol (from red) and tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol (from white) on rats. The results suggest that white wine is just as powerful as red in improving heart function and preventing artery blockage.

“We tested a variety of wines,” says Dipak K. Das, a professor at the University of Connecticut school of medicine, who led the study. “We found that white wines are rich in a type of antioxidant composition that is similarly present in olive oil.”

But not all white wines pack the same antioxidant punch. Das has tested wines from all over the globe and recommends certain European white wines—those from Italy, France and Germany—as being rich in tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol.

“In general, it can safely be said that some whites from Europe are as good as red wine from anywhere for heart health,” says Das.

1Written by C. Simmons of HealthAssist.net