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Our Virgin TV V6 box, where awesome entertainment comes together. Wine CAN be good for youso are you drinking the right stuff? One of the more cheering health messages that’s emerged over the past ten years is that drinking wine in moderation can be good for your health. Research has found that red wine in particular can lower the risk of heart disease, provide protection against stroke, prevent pancreatic cancer and even stave off potentially-fatal food poisoning bugs such as e.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, says Professor Roger Corder who conducts research into heart disease at Barts and The London School Of Medicine And Dentistry and is the author of The Wine Diet. So which wines are the healthiest? It has long been acknowledged that red wine can be good for the heart. But certain varieties may be better than others. But although in laboratory conditions it does appear to have anticancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties, you would have to drink vast amounts of red wine on a daily basis to reap those health benefits. Far more important are polyphenols, the chemical compounds in grape skin and seeds.
These are natural antioxidants which protect the membranes of each cell. Another important element of red wine are procyanidins, which help to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and protect against hardening of the arteries. Wines from these areas contain up to ten times more beneficial compounds than their counterparts from Australia, South Africa and the United States. It’s no wonder that the Madiran area has double the French national average of men aged 90, and this is despite regularly eating foods high in saturated fat, such as cassoulet,” says Prof Corder. In fact, one small glass of a Madiran wine can provide more health benefits than two bottles of most Australian wines, without the obvious danger of excessive alcohol consumption. Look for wines from the Madiran and CÙtes de Saint Mont regions of France and from the Sagrantino and Nebbiolo regions of Italy.
Cabernet Sauvignon is generally better than Merlot or Shiraz, with Chilean and Argentinean Cabernets the best choice. Pinot Noir is generally a poor choice as it’s low in procyanidins. The main difference between white and red wine is how the skin of the grape is used. With red, the skins are crushed along with the pulp.
In white, the skins are quickly separated out. However, white wine can still have health benefits as there are other types of polyphenols in the grape itself which could lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol. Last year, Italian scientists found that both red and white wines are effective anti-bacterial agents against strains of streptomorecoccus, which causes infections such as sore throats. They put this down to acids in the wine which can protect against and destroy bacteria, but red is better at this than white. Because white wine contains the compounds tyrosol and caffeic acid, which act as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, scientists at the University of Milan believe it could help prevent rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. They said two glasses a day could produce a reduced inflammatory reaction, but higher consumption cancelled out these benefits.