Last night I treated myself to a wine tasting event hosted by the Antique Wine Company. But before the wine and frivolity happened, I heard two extraordinary lectures on the latest imaging techniques in Orthopaedics and Cardiology. I couldn’t help but ponder the links between red wine and cardiovascular benefits. It is said that red wine is responsible for the ‘French Paradox’: the relatively low incidence of coronary artery disease in France as compared to other Western countries, despite the fact the French diets being high in saturated fat.
This cardioprotective effect of wine is supported by research in which over over 13,000 men and women observed over 12 years. The results of this research suggested that people who drank wine had half the risk of dying from coronary artery disease and stroke than those who had never drank. This is further supported by analysis of 13 studies with over 200,000 participants, which shows that people had a 32% risk reduction in coronary artery disease if they drank red wine. This wonderful effect of red wine could possibly be due to polyphenolic compounds, which may play an active role in limiting the progression of atherosclerosis, a condition where your arteries are clogged up by fatty substances.
Unfortunately it’s not all good news. As we know, excessive alcohol can lead to cancers, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, neurological disorders, addiction and even has been greatly responsible for road traffic accidents. So if you don’t drink alcohol there is no justification for you to start drinking red wine as a preventative measure. There are other ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease; stop smoking, exercise more and control your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Finally, it is important to drink responsibly – that means for men one or two glasses and for women one glass of red wine a day. Having said that, I was able to enjoy my wine tasting last night safe in the knowledge that I was having fun and giving my heart a little helping hand!