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Wine Health with Bex Bishop, Winemaker at BX of Napa

French Paradox

7 Health Benefits of Drinking Red Wine

We talk about heart health, cholesterol levels, arteries and fighting the development of cancer, but did you know RED wine is good for WHITE teeth? Not sure I agree with the 40 WINKS, however. Note this was posted in Yahoo! India.
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Don’t feel guilty the next time your order a bottle of a Shiraz or a Pinot Noir for your dinner date. It may actually prove to be good for your health.

For years, researchers have puzzled over the ‘French Paradox’. The French have relatively low levels of cholesterol and less cases of heart disease, despite of the fact that their cuisine has high levels of saturated fat. Many studies suggest that that the French are healthy due to the presence of red wine in their diet. So, now that the secret is out, why not use it to the fullest? Here are some of the health benefits of enjoying an occasional glass of red wine.

Prevents tooth decay

For a perfect set of pearly whites, you should drink red wine. It hardens your enamel which in turn prevents tooth decay and the growth of bacteria. Polyphenols, something which is found in red wine, can reduce gum inflammation and prevent gum diseases. 



IS THERE ANYTHING WINE CAN'T DO?

A host of reasons to drink red wine, but please, not 1000 bottles...

...the Yale-New Haven hospital talks up the benefits of the drink, pointing to its effects on heart-health. Researchers included moderate alcohol consumption as one of the "eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk.

...And the magical powers of wine extend beyond your cardiovascular system. WebMD physician, Arthur Agatston, also touted alcohol's benefits on cholesterol,  telling CBS, "The research evidence points to ethanol, or the alcohol component, of beer, wine, or spirits as the substrate that can help lower cholesterol levels, increase 'good' HDL cholesterol." Studies have also shown that that same ingredient that helps the lazy might also benefit the aging... 

Saponins, Anyone? Another Chemical in Red Wine Fights Cholesterol

If you enjoy sharing a glass of a nice red wine with friends and family, you may be working on reducing your cholesterol while you're relaxing. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, think that a group of chemicals in red wine, called saponins, are linked to the ability to lower cholesterol. If you have been following the discussions on the French paradox you are already familiar with the link between red wine and reduced risk of heart disease. ..Yet it seems that folks who grow up in France tend to have less clogged arteries and are less obese than Americans or Brits. For years this has been attributed to red wines' health benefits – specifically the compounds catechins and resveratrol, called polyphenols, found in red wine. These chemicals also have antioxidant or anticancer properties.

Andrew Waterhouse, Ph.D., Professor of Enology at UC Davis, an expert in wine chemistry, says that saponins are being found in an increasing number of foods and their presence in wine adds to the mounting evidence that red wine really may make a difference in lowering your cholesterol. "Saponins are a hot new food ingredient. People are just starting to pay attention to it," says Waterhouse. It seems that red wine contains about three to ten times as much saponin as white. This is probably because the saponins are found in the skins of the grapes and red wines have longer contact with their skins in the fermentation process.

The tests showed that the Red Zinfandel has the highest levels of saponins followed by Syrah. Both Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon had about the same amount. No other red wines were tested, but scientists believe that most red wines contain significant amounts of this chemical.

Red vs White wine - is there a difference in health benefit?

So why are the antioxidant molecules in white wine apparently more effective than those found in red wines even though they are present in greater numbers in red wines?
The answer lies in the research of Dr. Troup, a physicist at Monash University in Melbourne. Dr. Troup used an electron spin resonance spectroscope to examine the actual size of the various antioxidant molecules in wine and showed that those in white wine are smaller and thus more effective because they can be more easily absorbed.
 
...Returning to the 'French Paradox'. Reynaud observed that the French, despite eating a vascular disease-predisposing cholesterol rich diet, have significantly less coronary heart disease than other similarly indulgent countries. The reason for this, according to Reynaud is due largely to France's high consumption of wine...
 
It has been well documented that consuming alcohol in moderation can reduce mortality from all causes by 30-50% (1) due, mainly, to reducing our society's biggest killer, cardiovascular disease by up to 50% (2) and cancer by up to 24% (3). It is also good for relieving society's other big disease group - stress related illness.