Prepared Foods February 7, 2005 enewsletter

A recent study has determined that drinkers of wine benefit from its cardio-protective effects, more so than those who drink beer or other spirits, and may also live longer.

The article, published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, is part of a series of papers published in an open forum on wine, alcohol and cardiovascular risk. The analysis, encompassing various international studies, further confirms the agreement among researchers that any alcohol, in light to moderate intake, puts drinkers at lower risk for cardiovascular disease and death than nondrinkers.

"It is also known from a number of studies that wine drinkers in many cultures are from a higher socio-economic status and have a better diet than nonwine drinkers," said Morten Gronbaek, Ph.D., professor at the Center for Alcohol Research, National Institute of Public Health, Copenhagen. This may be an important factor adding to the beneficial results of wine intake. The French are noted to have a relatively low rate of cardiovascular disease, despite high smoking rates and a typical high-fat diet. The fact that the French consume more wine than Americans, for example, is a probable reason to explain this so-called paradox.

Substances in wine have been shown to share the characteristics of ethanol, which can help to prevent blood clotting, in addition to cardio-protective effects. Additional data revealed benefits from wine with regard to mortality from cancer, over other alcoholic beverages. Further evidence show that the disease fighting antioxidants present in fruit and vegetables, are also present in wine (Gronbaek M, Di Castelnuovo A, Iacoviello L, et al., Wine, alcohol and cardiovascular risk: open issue. J Thromb Haemost, 2(11):2041-8).