The Health Benefits of Red Wine

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A recent trend that moderate red wine consumption is beneficial to health has become widely accepted and even more focused on in the research field. The ‘French paradox’, popularized by Renaud and Lorgeril in the 1990s is responsible for this recent curiosity. It revealed that while France is traditionally one of the highest consumers of saturated fats and cholesterol, it has one of the lowest rates of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and mortality.1

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Red wine is accountable for such trends because it is consumed in the highest abundance in France, and it was first thought that the alcoholic (ethanol) components were responsible for such findings. Recent studies have focused more specifically on red wine because it holds a special group of natural ingredients found in grapes called, polyphenols.2 These are not found in other beverages containing the same ethanol components. While they have been known to be beneficial in their antioxidant abilities which reduce premature aging and disease, many studies have tried to target one specific polyphenol, mainly catechin, as being responsible for driving mechanisms that reduce risk factors for disease, especially CHD.3 With respect to the ‘French paradox’, the question remains, is catechin primarily responsible for the mechanisms involved in reducing CHD or do they collectively contribute aiding CHD health?

In many studies, polyphenols have been found to have antioxidant properties that participate in two mechanisms associated with risk factors for CHD. They contribute to reducing heart disease by preventing a chemical reaction (oxidation) of bad cholesterol (LDL), which stops forma...

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