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The Secret to a Healthy Heart

Wine has been a welcome companion since the discovery of the fruits of fermentation. Not only at dining tables, but also at weddings, religious events, and doctor’s offices.

However, only recently have experts begun to look at the real health advantages of drinking wine. And the discoveries they’ve made are enough to have any wine enthusiast lift his glass and exclaim, “Salut!”

When consumed in moderation, red wine, in particular, may help decrease cholesterol and avoid artery hardening and heart disease. It may also destroy the germs that cause food poisoning and traveller’s diarrhoea, according to research. Obviously, experts do not advise individuals to start guzzling wine instead of sipping it, nor do they counsel that those who do not drink suddenly begin to do so. Rather, data suggests that moderate drinking may be a beneficial supplement to a balanced diet.

For years, experts marvelled at how their French comrades could smoke, eat buttery croissants, and eat fatty pates and yet have a 2 1/2 times lower risk of heart disease than their purportedly healthier American counterparts.

The so-called French paradox is still being investigated, but it seems that the French have better hearts, at least in part due to their fondness for red wine. These wines have chemicals that help decrease cholesterol and prevent dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from adhering to the lining of artery walls, causing heart disease. Red wines also prevent blood platelets from adhering to one another and producing potentially fatal clots.

Protection for the heart

Red wine works to keep your pump primed in a variety of ways. At work, there are various chemical substances, some of which have several benefits. For starters, red wine’s alcohol content may be advantageous. Studies show that those who consume little quantities of alcohol have a higher risk of heart disease.

The reason for this, according to the study, is that ethanol, or alcohol, in alcoholic beverages elevates levels of beneficial cholesterol, such as heart-protecting high-density lipoprotein (HDL). While beer and other alcoholic beverages offer some health advantages, wine is the only beverage that contains health-promoting polyphenols.

Wine includes potent flavonoids like quercetin, which provide great protection. It helps prevent the body’s harmful LDL cholesterol from oxidising, along with other possibly beneficial chemicals like resveratrol. As a result, harmful LDL cholesterol is less likely to adhere to arterial walls.

By boosting the functioning of mitochondria — microscopic power plants within every cell of your body – resveratrol has been found to slow down ageing in mice, protect against weight gain, and enhance endurance in lab experiments.

“Red wine flavonoids are more potent than vitamin E, which everyone knows is an essential antioxidant,” says John D Folts, PhD, professor of medicine and head of the University of Wisconsin Medical School’s coronary thrombosis Laboratory in Madison.

Keeping LDL cholesterol under control helps to prevent platelets in the blood from clumping together, which is a good start against heat illness. Professor Folts and his colleagues discovered that giving reed wine to research animals prevented potentially deadly clots from forming, which may cause heart attacks and strokes. “Red wine serves a dual purpose,” adds Dr Folts, “providing you with two essential advantages at the same time.”

It’s in the colour scheme.

We’re talking about red wine when we speak about the therapeutic effect of wine on a healthy heart. According to laboratory research conducted at the University of California, Davis, red wines may prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidising by 46 per cent to 100 per cent, but white wines are less protective. Furthermore, laboratory tests have shown that white wine lacks the potential to prevent blood clots.

Winemaking is the reason why red wine is so much better than white wine. When making wine, vintners pour everything into the vat, including the skins, seeds, and stems. They’re all mashed together to make a thick combination known as must, which includes the beneficial flavonoids.

“According to Dr Folts, the longer the must ferment in the alcohol, the more of these chemicals are released into the wine. The must is removed early from white wine to prevent the liquid from darkening. The must in red wine is held in for a long period, and the wine absorbs a lot of flavonoids.”

Some red wines, according to UC Davis researchers, are also high in saponins, which reduce the risk of heart disease by binding to cholesterol and inhibiting its absorption. Saponins may also reduce inflammation throughout the body, perhaps lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Red wines have 3 to 10 times the amount of saponins as white wines. Red Zinfandel is the best source, followed by Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Savignon Blanc and Shardonnay, two white types, comprise less. The saponin seems to dissolve into the wine during fermentation and may originate from the waxy grape skins. The most saponin is found in wines with the greatest alcohol concentration. Wine may also help you maintain a healthy weight. The Mayo Clinic studied the drinking habits and weight of 8,200 men and women.

They discovered that those who drank one or two alcoholic drinks per day were 54 per cent less likely than non-drinkers to be fat. Non-drinkers and ex-drinkers were twice as likely to become fat. People who drink a glass of wine or beer every day do so with their evening meal, and it’s possible that the drink is replacing a later, high-calorie evening snack. Four or more glasses a day, on the other hand, do not make you incredibly skinny, but they do increase your chances of getting obese by 50%.

Wine has anti-infective properties.

Scientists from the Honolulu-based Tripler Army Medical Center discovered that red wine, white wine, and bismuth all subsalicylate against some of the most virulent intestinal bacteria, including shigella, salmonella, and E. coli, and that both red and white wines were more effective than drugs at killing harmful bacteria.

Headaches

Even a modest glass of wine might induce a lot of headaches for certain individuals who are prone to migraine headaches. A chemical found in red wine known as amines causes blood vessels in the brain to contract and then expand. This may cause excruciating headaches in sensitive persons.

Although white wine has fewer amines that cause headaches than red wine, it also includes fewer healing chemicals. So, if headaches are a concern for you, see your doctor see whether a nonalcoholic wine will help you enjoy the delicious flavours without suffering.

Be aware of your limitations.

Knowing when to put your glass down is the most critical advice for gaining the greatest health advantages from your wine cellar. The daily allowance for women is one 5-ounce glass and two 5-ounce glasses for males. Experts agree, however, that if you’re prone to binge drinking or have a personal or family history of alcoholism, you’re best off avoiding alcohol altogether.

Take the Gusto route.

When looking for a wine with the greatest concentration of heart-healthy ingredients, seek full-bodied, powerful varietals. The degree of tannin, the ingredient that makes wine dry, and the level of therapeutic chemicals in red wines are inextricably linked. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Merlot are three of the most heart-healthy wines.

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