Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Glass a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

We have all heard that wine secretly harbors some magical health benefits; a powerful elixir that bestows its heart-healthy benefits upon those willing to partake. In addition, scientific studies have revealed a whole host of benefits to the winedrinker. Well the secret could be due to a flavonoid compound found in wine called Resveratrol.

In recent mouse and rat experiments, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar-lowering, and other beneficial cardiovascular effects of Resveratrol have been reported. Resveratrol, found in grape skins and seeds, increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and prevents blood clotting. Flavonoids, on the other hand, exhibit antioxidant properties helping prevent blood clots and plaque formation in arteries. Red wine may help reduce the blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits. But wait, before you do your best impression of a drunken sailor, lets back up a bit. Sorry to dampen your enthusiasm but let me remind you to do this right. That means everything in moderation. Oh, I just heard a collective sigh out of 90% of you. That means 1 glass a day for women, double that for men. Though I think you will still get the benefits even if you indulge a bit more. Unfortunately, for those who like to burn the candle at both ends, excessive consumption can actually damage your heart. Let’s not forget the stress it places on your liver. So a glass a day means approximately 5 ounces. Too much indulgence could lead to a fatty liver. A fatty liver will lead to higher triglycerides. High triglycerides prevent the endothelium from producing the most cardio protective protein nitric oxide in addition to thickening of the blood and fatty plaque. Fatty plaque is unstable plaque which can dislodge causing blockage elsewhere. Hello heart attack.

Currently, pharmaceutical giant Glaxo has a synthetic version of Resveratrol in clinical trials. Whether it will become part of the pharmaceutical market is still unknown.There is some further evidence of Resveratrol’s effects on the sirtuin gene to slow the aging process. In the meantime Resveratrol is available over the counter or in your glass!

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