Drinking to a Long Life

Every so often, we hear in the news about the surprising health benefits of wine. Besides the health benefits of the moderate consumption of alcohol, red wine has a special knack for protecting the cardiovascular system. And for a while, the chemical suspected of this was resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown in very high quantities, much higher than in a glass of red wine to do wonders for the body, working as an anticancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting compound. The only problem is there isn’t enough in red wine and the body quickly breaks it down. One day, maybe we all will have resveratrol supplements, but it isn’t the secret behind red wine. So why do countries, especially France, live longer even though they have similar diets? Rest assured, it’s in the wine.

The latest theory is that antioxidants, or polyphenols, give wine its recipe for health. Antioxidants clean the body of free radicals, harmful waste products.  In wine, these polyphenols come from the grape skin and seeds.

The particular polyphenols that provides the most benefit in red wine are procyanidins. They do a host of good things, from reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and preventing the hardening of the arteries. Professor Roger Corder, a British researcher of heart disease who has authored the book The Wine Diet, discovered that procyanidins are the substances that provide the main health benefit in wine.

Not all wines are created equal though. Wines with a higher tannin levels typically have a concentration of procyanidins. Corder partly bases that procyanidins confer the health advantages on the unusually long lives of the French from Madrian region of France. So he suggests that the hard to drink Madrian wine (though some food may make it more approachable). Additionally, the popular and palatable Cabernet Sauvignon often will do the trick.

So chocolate is not alone in bestowing health upon those who consume it in moderation. Now that red wine has proven itself capable of helping people to long-term cardiovascular health, it’s time to think about accompanying your meal with a glass or two of wine. AYZA realizes that decadence needs to be offset by healthy habits. And more and more, the combination of wine and chocolate is proving to be more and more attractive to medical science.