The Truth about Red Wine and Heart Disease
It may surprise you to know that consumption of red wine has a direct positive impact on the state of your heart! Read on, as this article throws more light on the topic.
What is so special about wine which makes the knight in shining armor protecting the heart and perhaps other ailments too? How can wine provide this protection, which other alcoholic beverages can not provide?
Modern scientific research in areas like heart ailments, cancer and the aging process has revealed that these conditions are caused or triggered by a group of hazardous chemicals calls free radicals. They are usually on the prowl and attack healthy cells by means of a process called oxidation. In this battle scene, there is a group of good Samaritans who pounce on the attackers and subsequently destroy them. These brave and courageous souls are called anti-oxidants.
With no intention of confusing you with medical or technical jargon, let me just narrate the simple thing to understand here. Oxidation process is one of the most vital processes in the body as it allows us to obtain energy from our foods. But when the number of free radicals is excessive, it can be dangerous.
Thankfully, our body has its own defense mechanism in place in the form of enzymes which can turn the harmful invaders into water. But then at times this defense system can not cope with the power of the invasion. Of course, there are many external situations which trigger the proliferation of free radicals in our bodies like x-rays, smoking or exposure to toxic substances. In these situations our defense mechanisms take a back seat as free radicals have an overpowering presence. We then become victims of radiation sickness, etc.
So what is the link between oxidation and free radicals and heart disease?
There are situations when low density lipoproteins, also called ‘bad’ LDL collect in the inner walls of our arteries and form fatty streaks and plaques. Left alone LDL is not that harmful, but when attacked by the plethora of free radicals, they turn harmful and penetrate through the softer inner walls of the arteries. This is basically called oxidation and oxidized LDL is responsible for causing atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke.
Anti-oxidants, live up to their name and can retard or stop the oxidation process which are caused by free radicals. While most research has been done on anti-oxidants on vitamin A, E, beta carotene, a lot of research has also been done on the good effects of red wine. Though most research on red wine has been centered on its benefits for the heart, subsequent findings tell us that its benefits go beyond the heart.
Red wine and Coronary Heart Disease
The first thing you ought to know about red wine is that it is composed of a range of flavanoids. These are essentially chemicals which lend the red wine its typical taste and character which differentiates one from the other. Interestingly many of these flavanoids behave like anti-oxidants. According to a French research who was a pioneer in wine research, and who discovered the French Paradox, wine was the single most important reason why the people of south France survived despite their fat-rich diets and subsequently coronary disease. Amazing but true, that these people have voluminous quantities of cheese pate and salami – yet have some of the lowest rates of heart ailments in the world.
Another study was more statistically important than for practical purposes was done by a Prof. Grey of the University of Bern in Switzerland who concentrated on the low, medium and high coronary heart disease or CHD as provided by the World Health Organization or WHO. His finding was that the high mortality areas were Finland and Scotland, the middle mortality area was Ireland and the low CHD areas were Spain, Italy and France. The researcher subsequently compared the heart attack rates with the antioxidant levels in the blood from samples taken from men residing in those areas.
Vitamin E and Heart Disease
Prof. Grey’s findings were interesting indeed. He found that high concentration of antioxidants, especially vitamin E, matched with low death rates caused by heart diseases. He even found that vitamin E levels gave 94% more accurate predictions of CHD than the predictions which are derived at from cholesterol levels or blood pressure figures. People from the high CHD areas drink very little wine whereas people from low CHD areas drink it nearly with every meal they have.
Strangely two cities – Glasgow in Scotland and Toulouse in France have many differences as well as many similarities. People of both these areas, consume enormous amounts of fatty food, do little exercise and drink alcohol. The difference is Glasgow is among the highest CHD concentrations in the world and Toulouse is one of the lowest. While Glasgow people drink beer and spirits, people in Toulouse believe in red wine.
It has now an established fact that drinking in moderation with meals is not harmful but overt consumption of alcohol at pubs, etc can be very harmful. The fact is people of south Europe usually take a drink which is merely an accompaniment to their meals.
There was a time when authority institutions like American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association did not take antioxidants and the beneficial role of wine too seriously. It is perhaps due to the fact that it is rather embarrassing for a doctor to advise his patient to start on alcohol, though it is difficult to understand why they feigned innocence so long when the research findings were available. Presently, even if they do not advocate the use of vitamin pills, they certainly acknowledge the role of antioxidants and free radicals. According to AHA, “There is no scientific proof that drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverage can replace conventional measures. No direct comparison trials have been done to determine the specific effect of wine or other alcohol on the risk of developing heart disease or stroke.” The relevant question here is who will sponsor the research on the benefits of red wine? The objective of clinical trials is to find out which therapy is superior to the other. The cost of holding a clinical trial is prohibitive and only the pharmaceutical industry has the money power to sponsor such a research.
Original Article Source: http://www.medicalneeds.com