Friday, April 23, 2010

White Wine or Red Wine Good for Your Heart?

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The answer is probably – though researchers continue to debate the question.  Some studies have indicated that red wine is modestly better for the heart than white wine ( than beer or spirits) because it contains resveratrol ( plant chemical) associated with cardiovascular benefits, including reduced risk of heart attack.

Resveratrol is found in the seeds and skin of grapes, which are crushed together with the pulp to make red wine.  White wines, on the other hand, are made with just pulp and therefore contain very little resveratrol.  But recent studies have shown that the pulp does contain other polyphenols that may be heart healthy.

Moreover, although red and white wines differ in polyphenol composition, both contain similar amounts of alcohol –- which is known to increase levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and prevent blood clots.  And observational studies have found that drinking any type of alcoholic beverage in moderation has the potential to reduce the risk of a heart attack.  (“Moderate” generally means no more than 2 drinks per day for a man and 1 drink for a woman.  In most studies, “a drink” is the equivalent of about 5 oz. of wine.)

Remember, too, that most experts don’t advise nondrinkers to start consuming alcohol to improve their heart health.  There are better ways to accomplish that – starting with diet and exercise to control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight.  Drinking should never be  a substitute for these measures.


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