Science News

Did you Have Red Or White Wine with your Turkey ?

Sun, 6th Jan 2002

Part of the show Egyptology and Ancient Egypt

Medical researchers at London University may have solved the mystery of why red wine is good for you and therefore possibly explaining why people in France live so long, despite a diet high in saturated fats. Roger Corder and his team from Barts and the Royal London medical school have found that red wine reduces the levels of a substance called endothelin-1, which plays an important part in furring up arteries. People have known for 2 centuries that people in France are healthier than they should be but it was never clear why. Now the researchers have shown that substances present in high levels in red wine, but not white wine or rose, can reduce the levels of endothelin-1 by over 50% in cells cultured in a dish. So is red-grape juice as good ? Apparently not, as 7 times more grape juice is needed to produce the same effects as a small amount of red wine. But do we know what it is in the red wine that causes the beneficial effects ? Although it is not known for certain, the authors of the study suggest that chemicals called polyphenols are probably responsible but since there are quite literally thousands of them in wine, finding the correct one might take a while. Now the really good news - vin de table is every bit as good as vintage wine at producing the effect, so it need not hurt your pocket to benefit your heart !

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