Reducing Cholesterol with Red Wine
For red wine lovers and those concerned about heart disease and cholesterol, drinking away your problems may be an option–in moderation, of course. For those who emjoy red wine, the good news is that a glass or two a day may keep the cardiologist away.
Actually, it isn’t just red wine that has clinically proven effects of heart disease prevention. The Mayo Clinic reports on its website that numerous research studies have shown that alcohol in all its forms increases HDL or “good” cholesterol, reduces the risk of blood clots, and prevents arterial damage caused by LDL or “bad” cholesterol. In these ways, a martini or a beer can also help your heart.
The Magic of Red Wine
Red wine seems to have something more to it than other alcoholic beverages. The key may be polyphenols–a series of antioxidants that come from grape skins. Red wine has more of these antioxidants because, typically, red wine is fermented with grape skins longer than are other wines.
And while many of the antioxidants maintain heart health by preventing aging and wear and tear, one in particular may actually prevent arteries from becoming clogged with fatty deposits. Resveratrol, the antioxidant in question, has been shown to be effective on animals, and even prevented obesity and diabetes in mice. However, there aren’t many studies yet on resveratrol in humans.
However, while research continues into the role of resveratrol and other chemicals in red wine, even the Mayo Clinic reports that physicians increasingly agree on red wine as being helpful in reducing cholesterol and preventing heart disease.
Dangers and Alternatives
Resveratrol isn’t solely found in red wine. In fact, grapes, blueberries and cranberries all contain this powerful and potentially life-saving antioxidant. Research is even being conducted to see if grape juice may have the same effects as red wine.
There are, of course, dangers to red wine as a preventative. First, any responsible physician will emphasize the word moderation. Alcohol in larger quantities–or when mixed with other substances and drugs–can create or complicate a host of other health problems, including alcoholism.
For many people, the consequences of alcohol abuse and interactions are far more worrisome than heart disease. Clinical guides define moderate drinking as one five-ounce glass of wine per day for women and two for men.
Before considering red wine to reduce cholesterol, consult your physician. Make sure to check for any drug interactions and other potential health risks before undertaking a regimen of red wine.