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The Upside of Alcohol

Good spirits: Some alcoholic beverages provide antioxidants and others may reduce cholesterol.

By Sara Reistad-Long
Can You Drink to Your Health? Miha Matei (Illustrations: Andrew Rea)

A Little Red Wine Helps Your Heart

Previous studies have shown the benefits red wine may have on the heart, but a groundbreaking study published by the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, this year revealed that it might not take that much drinking to achieve them. When lab mice were fed small amounts of resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant found in red wine, they aged more slowly. Their hearts, in particular, stayed younger for longer. New research from the Endocrine Society, an organization devoted to the clinical practice of endocrinology, also found that resveratrol reduces fat-cell formation and can slow fat storage, indicating a role in weight control. 


Although animal experiments are still preliminary, given these favorable results, experts see every reason to be encouraged: “Resveratrol is just the first of these red-wine ingredients that we’ve really done a deep dive on,” says Richard Weindruch, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. Note that drier red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, contain the highest levels of resveratrol.

A Little Wine Can Protect Your Liver

This year, researchers at the University of California School of Medicine, San Diego, found that, compared with teetotalers, people who drank one glass of red or white wine a day were half as likely to develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the most common liver problem in this country. Conversely, people who drank the same amount of beer or hard liquor were four times more likely to get NAFLD. Experts have yet to pinpoint the reason, but they suspect an additional healthful compound in wine is at work.


Read More About:Preventative Health

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