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09/12/2008

Red wine and health

(NaturalNews) Moderate red wine drinkers have less incidence of heart disease than non-drinkers and now scientists are confirming a direct correlation between red wine and many powerful anti-aging benefits. Moderate consumption of some red wines may be a very effective way of improving your cardiovascular health as well as your lifespan. However, it is important to choose the correct red wine.

Unfortunately, only traditional production methods have been determined to produce the high concentration of the active ingredient necessary for anti-aging benefits. This ingredient is found in the wines produced in Southwest France and Sardinia, Italy. When the wines from these regions were tested, researchers found higher levels of polyphenols. In fact, they found up to 5 to 10 times higher concentrations in these wines, than in wines from New World countries.

They wondered what the difference between these wines was. They eventually determined that the traditional production methods used in these regions insured that the beneficial compounds were extracted more efficiently. This is likely the reason for the strong association between consuming traditional lines and overall good health and longer life spans.

Researchers tested further to determine which were the most potent polyphenols. After purifying the most active polyphenols, they determined that procyanidins were found most abundantly in red wine. In fact, in some traditional red wines, up to 1 gram per liter was detected.

In addition, the researchers found contradictory evidence to the claims that resveratrol is the magic ingredient to good health. They found the levels of resveratrol to be so low that one would need to consume 1000 L per day to get the desired benefits.

So, what is different about traditional wines? Traditional wines are processed using full extraction methods. This requires more skill to produce. These wines are also more tannic. More recent wines are typically described as having smooth tannins and this corresponds with almost no procyanidins.

The following factors have been identified as directly affecting the procyanidins content in wines.

1. The selection of grapes - based on the ripeness

2. The amount of time that seeds and skins are in contact with the fermenting juice

3. Any filtration processes performed

Typically, traditional wines ferment for approximately one month. This results in the full extraction of procyanidins. In contrast, more modern wines typically ferment for only a few days. This is only enough time for the color to be extracted from the grape skins.

Using overripe grapes results in a wine with less procyanidin content and higher sugar content. A red wine that is more sweet and has higher alcohol content has significantly lower procyanidin content.

Procyanidins have shown direct benefits on arterial function in blood vessels. In fact, polyphenols have been determined to have a protective effect on the vascular system to the point where they improve the endothelial cells that line the arteries.

To realize these health benefits one must consume red wine that is less sweet and has a lower alcoholic content. For the most health benefits, one or two glasses of red wine with a meal are optimal. Grape seed extract has been shown to lower blood pressure as well. Two small glasses of red wine would provide the same effect as grape seed extract.

Red wines from Southwest France are the ideal wine to choose.

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