Friday, 15 May 2009

Can Red Wine Help Lower Blood Pressure? It All Depends

The term "French Paradox" describes the phenomenom whereby
the French have fewer heart attacks than we do even though
they eat richer foods.

Researchers believe that the answer may be, in part, due to
the fact that the French outdo us in the daily consumption
of red wine which, in moderation, has long been thought to
be heart-healthy.

Red wine contains flavonoids and resveratrols, substances
that have been linked to a lower incidence of heart
disease. Both of these compounds have antioxidant and
anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers believe that
these substances have the effect of increasing the levels
of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good"
cholesterol, thereby reducing the formation of blood clots,
and they also help in preventing damage to the arteries
caused by high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) the
"bad" cholesterol

The resveratrol in red wine comes from the skin of the
grapes that are used in making the wine. In white wine the
skins are not used. The grapes produce resveratrol as
protection against fungal infection. Because of this, the
amount of resversatrol in red wine varies from vineyard to
vineyard depending on climate and other growing conditions.
Grapes that are sprayed with pesticides produce less
resveratrol than those that are grown organically, and
grapes from vineyards in dry, arid regions have less
resveratrol than those grown in humid areas.

For those who may consider drinking red wine as a remedy to
heart conditions, a recent article posted by the Mayo
Clinic urges caution. They point out in the article that
while the heart-health benefits of red wine look promising,
more research is needed in order to know if red wine is
better for the heart than other forms of alcohol. For
those who already drink red wine, they advise us to do so
in moderation.

The generally accepted definition of "moderate" drinking is
no more than two six ounce glasses of wine a day for men,
and one six ounce glass of wine a day for women. Because
men generally weigh more, and because they have more of an
enzyme that metabolizes alcohol, their limits are higher
than women.

In general, medical experts don't recommend that
non-drinkers start drinking red wine as a means of
preventing heart disease, as alcohol can be addictive and
its misuse can cause other health problems. Women may want
to be aware of the potential connection between alchohol
consumption and breast cancer. For teetotalers, there are
happy alternatives. According to a study conducted by the
University of Wisconsin-Madison, purple grape juice, white
grape juice and red wine were all tested for their heart
protective effects. The results showed that purple grape
juice was every bit as beneficial as red wine, perhaps even
more so. Or, if you'd rather pop a capsule in your mouth
when happy hour rolls around, a month's supply of
resverasol can be had for about the cost of a medium-priced
bottle of wine.

In summary, a limited amount of red wine can have the
beneficial effect of relaxing the body so that blood
pressure is lowered, whereas too much red wine, or any
other alcoholic drink, increases the risk of high blood
pressure. As the old saying goes: "All things in
moderation."


About the Author:

About the Author: Bill Lewis is a 90-year old landscape and
portrait painter who recovered from a major heart attack at
the age of 86. Now, since he has learned how to reduce his
own high blood pressure he is currently painting,thriving
and enjoying his daily glass of red wine in Tiburon, CA.
Visit his blog to read his story about how he came back to
life after his heart stopped beating:
http://billsbulletin.blogspot.com