A little vino keeps the heart healthy
Go ahead and pair a cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir or merlot with your evening meal. Research shows red wine can keep you out of the cardiologist’s office. One study found resveratrol, in the skins of red grapes, prevents baby fat cells from maturing. This, in turn, might decrease obesity, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
After 30 years of increases, adult obesity rates held steady in 2013. Thirteen states currently have adult obesity rates that top 30 percent, 41 states have rates of at least 25 percent and every state is above 20 percent. A joint Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report from last year predicts that if we stay this course, obesity rates could double by 2030. And even if this current leveling off holds, “baby boomers—who are aging into obesity-related illnesses—and the rapidly rising numbers of extremely obese Americans are already translating into a cost crisis for the health-care system and Medicare,” says Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH.
Another study, from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, examined red wine’s effect on the cells lining blood vessels. After 21 consecutive days of drinking red wine, the study subjects had improved cell health and blood flow.
Resveratrol also increases levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, reduces bad cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
Though red wine’s heart-healthy benefits seem promising, too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect on your ticker. Moderation (defined as two five-ounce glasses of wine for men a day and one five-ounce glass for women) is key. If you have heart failure, take a daily aspirin or are pregnant, doctors say it’s best to avoid alcohol. Also note: Experts say purple and red grape juices may have some of the same heart-healthy properties as their alcoholic cousin.