Wednesday, October 15, 2008

White wine 'as good as red' for hearts

Note the contrast with this recent study, which says that white wines give no benefit. There are so many people studying this that apparently significant findings will from time to time emerge by chance alone. As always, there seems to be a reluctance to look at the bottom line here: Traditional wine drinking countries do not have an especially long life expectancy. So even if wine does you good in some ways, it may harm you in others. I believe France has a high incidence of liver cirrhosis, for instance. Two of the longest life expectancy countries are Iceland and Australia -- neither of which were traditionally wine-drinking cultures, though wine has made inroads in recent years. I mainly drink Scotch myself so I am sure that must be good for you!

The health benefits of a glass of red wine are well known, but new research has found a tipple of white could also protect the heart. Rats that were fed the equivalent of one or two glasses of white wine by researchers from the University of Connecticut in the US found their hearts suffered less damage during cardiac arrest than those fed water or grain alcohol, according to New Scientist. The benefits from the white wine were similar to those found after animals ingested red wine - or the wonder ingredient found in grape skin - resveratrol. Previously, it was believed only wine made using grape skin could prevent heart damage.

"The flesh of the grape can do the same job as the skin,'' molecular biologist Dr Dipak Das said. "In lab rats that suffered heart attacks, the animals that received wine or polyphenols experienced less heart damage, compared to rats fed water or straight liquor. "Their blood pressure and aortic blood flow plummeted less drastically as well.'' Molecular tests of heart cells suggest white wine protects mitochondria.

Director of the Hatter Institute for Cardiology Research, Professor Lionel Opie, in South Africa, agreed Mr Das' evidence proved white wine protected lab rats, but said human heart attacks occur from blood clots and diseased arteries and not necessarily mitochondrial failure. Other experiments in dogs showed benefits from red wine, but not white, Prof Opie said.

But Dr Das expects similar studies to soon prove white wine's worth. "We can safely say that one to two glasses of white wine per day works exactly like red wine,'' he said.


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