Why Red Wine?
Red wine has been attracting attention lately as a salubrious product. Moderate consumption of wine is linked to a lesser risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. It is a phenomenon known as the French paradox, for in France in spite of a diet with a high content of butter, cheese and other rich fats the level of the diseases of the heart and vessels is low. It has to do with the habit of drinking red wine during the meal. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University report one more of red wine’s good qualities. They discovered a way to protect the brain from after-stroke damage through red wine. Sylvain Doré, Ph.D., an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of medicine says his research reveals that wine is salubrious for the brain. Resveratrol, a compound found in the skin and seeds of red grapes, increases the level of the heme oxygenase enzyme. This enzyme protects the nerve cells of the brain from stroke damage and prevents neurons from dying. Resveratrol doesn’t function directly, it cannot protect the brain cells from free radicals, but it stimulates the cells into protecting themselves.
Doré warns against using resveratrol additives that are available as those of vitamins and minerals. He urges to disregard advertisements of such additives since it’s not definitely known whether they are beneficial or harmful. Additives are often ineffective outside the whole compound found in natural foods and can even cause harm. Therefore one will be better off with a moderate intake of natural red wine and red grapes. Who said your red wine consumption had to be limited to the glass? You can include the drink in your dinner, either as a sauce (in which case we suggest our yummy DIY red wine sauce) or complimentary ingredient, and still reap its benefits.
Other usefulness of red wine
- High-fiber Tempranillo red grapes—which are used to make certain red wines, like Rioja—may actually have a significant effect on cholesterol levels, according to a study from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain.
- On top of lowering bad cholesterol, polyphenols—the antioxidants in red wine—can help keep blood vessels flexible and reduce the risk of unwanted clotting, says John Folts, PhD, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and nutrition at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
- The skin of red grapes—a rich source of red wine’s natural compound resveratrol—may actually help diabetics regulate their blood sugar, finds recent research published in the journal Nutrition.
- If you hate getting sick (and who doesn’t?), the antioxidants in red wine may help keep you healthy. A 2010 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that among 4,000 faculty members at five Spanish universities, those who drank more than 14 weekly glasses of wine for a year were 40% less likely to come down with a common cold. Why? According to the National Institutes of Health, antioxidants are believed to fight infection and protect cells against the effects of free radicals, which may play role in cancer and other diseases.
- Clearly, resveratrol is a bit of a limelight hog when it comes to the healthful compounds in vino. But research in the Journal of Biological Chemistry suggests piceatannol, the chemical compound our bodies convert from resveratrol, deserves some credit. This compound was shown to actually prevent the growth of fat cells in a series of lab tests. How? Researchers say that piceatannol binds to the insulin receptors of fat cells, essentially blocking the pathways necessary for immature fat cells to mature and grow.
- 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.