The Mediterranean Diet – Is It The Wine?

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
The Mediterranean Diet – Is It The Wine?

Another vital component of the Mediterranean dietary lifestyle is the enjoyment of one or two glasses of wine in moderation, usually red, every day (or nearly so). Can red wine be another link between the Mediterranean dietary lifestyle and good health?

Many scientists have examined this question during the last decade. They have found that the regular daily consumption of one or two glasses of red wine, once a day during or just after a meal, can:

  • reduce the risk of having a heart attack by about 50%.
  • reduce the likelihood of developing congestive heart failure by about 50%
  • cut the chances of dying from heart disease or cancer by up to 50%.

More recently, a group of European investigators have published in the scientific journal, Physiological Research, the results of a formal analysis of the tremendous volume of scientific research linking red wine to cardiovascular health.11 They concluded that red wine:

  • reduces the ability of arterial plaques to form or enlarge
  • reduces the ability of arterial plaques to cause narrowing of the arteries
  • increases the health of heart muscle
  • increases resistance to developing high blood pressure

These conclusions are consistent with the results obtained by this group in their own research, as published in the journal Physiological Research.12

Finally, a group of Canadian cardiologists have “said it all” in their summary assessment published recently in the American Journal of Physiology.13 These experts have concluded that the consumption of one or two glasses of red wine, once a day during or just after a meal, can markedly reduce your chances of ever suffering from:

  • heart attack
  • angina
  • congestive heart failure
  • stroke
  • coronary artery blockages
  • atherosclerotic plaques
  • vascular thrombosis
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • intermittent claudication
  • hypertension

How can Red Wine be so beneficial?

Scientists know that when you drink a glass of red wine, for the next day or so you have decreased:

  • susceptibility of the cholesterol-laden lipoprotein particles in your blood to become oxidized.
  • susceptibility of the monocyte cells in your blood to become converted into plaque-forming cells.
  • release of monocyte-attracting chemicals by the cells lining the inner walls of your blood vessels.
  • migration of blood monocytes to the linings of the inner walls of your blood vessels.
  • ability of blood monocytes to attach to the linings of the inner walls of your blood vessels.
  • conversion of blood monocytes into cholesterol-laden foam cells within the inner walls of your blood vessels.

and increased:

  • resistance to stimuli that cause uncontrolled proliferation of the cells that line your blood vessels (which results in less narrowing of those vessels).
  • resistance to stimuli that cause uncontrolled proliferation of the smooth muscle cells that wrap around your blood vessels and control their diameter (which results in less narrowing and stiffness of blood vessels – major causes of high blood pressure).

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
The Mediterranean Diet Will Benefit Your Health

References:
11. Pechanova O, Rezzani R, Babal P, Bernatova I, Andriantsitohaina R. Beneficial effects of provinols: Cardiovascular system and kidney. Physiol Res 2006;55(Suppl. 1):S17-S30.
12. Puzserova A, Csizmadiova Z, Andriantsitohaina R, Bernatova I. Vascular effects of red wine polyphenols in chronic stress-exposed Wistar-Kyoto rats. Physiol Res 2006;55(Suppl. 1):S39-S47.
13. Szmitko PE, Verma S. Antiatherogenic potential of red wine: Clinician update. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2005;288:H2023-H2030.


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