A glass of red wine a day may keep the doctor away and your heart healthy because of the antioxidants
|BY ANTHONY WASHINGTON
Happy New Year! One year is ending, while another is beginning. Out with the old, in with the new. It’s time for everyone to start making their New Year’s resolutions. What will your resolutions be this year? Are you going to be healthier? Are you going to be nicer? Or are you going to try new and exciting things? Here are a few solutions to fit all your resolutions in and actually stick to them.
Drink a glass of red wine a day for your heart. Studies have shown that red wine is good for your cardiovascular health. Red wines have antioxidants located in their seeds and skins called flavonoids and resveratrol. Flavonoids reduce bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol and reduce blood clotting. Think of it as a Roto Rooter for your arteries. Resveratrol is reported to extend life and have some cancer-preventing qualities. Sorry, white wine drinkers: These benefits diminish considerably when consuming white wine. Also, certain red wines have more benefits than others. According to research from the University of California-Davis, Cabernet Sauvignon has the most flavonoids, followed by Petit Syrah, then Pinot Noir. Merlots and Zinfandels have some of the lowest concentrations of flavonoids. Also, men benefit from one or two 4-ounce glasses a day, while women should only consume one glass. So this year, let’s raise a glass to your health.
Recent research indicates that long-term supplementation with antioxidants may boost heart health in a number of ways.
Daily supplements of vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium significantly increased the elasticity of arteries, decreased blood pressure, and improved levels of HDL cholesterol in people with multiple cardiovascular risk factors, according to findings published in Nutrition & Metabolism.
Study participants, with an average age of 62, had high blood pressure, diabetes, low HDL cholesterol levels, or were smokers. Half received a placebo, and half received a daily antioxidant supplement containing 1000 mg vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, 120 mg coenzyme Q10 and 200 mcg selenium.
Six months later, the people in the antioxidant group showed a number of benefits:
• Significant increases in arterial elasticity index, a measure of the flexibility – and therefore the health – of blood vessels. No changes were observed in the placebo group.
• Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly; from 145.2 to 136.1 mmHg for systolic and from 78.4 to 75.0 mmHg for diastolic.
• Significant improvements were observed in HDL cholesterol levels for the antioxidant group, but not in the placebo group.
While this study was small, it follows previous studies indicating that vitamins C and E may protect DNA from damage, enhance antioxidant defenses and restore the health of the cells lining blood vessels, or endothelium. Researchers also say that studies have shown that selenium “provides significant protection of the coronary artery endothelium against damage by oxidative stress” and co-Q10 “improves endothelial dysfunction in diabetic patients.”