Hippocrates was likely the first to tout the health benefits of alcohol, and numerous modern studies have since won over members of the medical community that now endorse moderate drinking. The drink of choice among health professionals is red wine - up to two glasses a night for men. Thanks to its abundance of phytonutrients, which are natural chemicals that help improve cell signaling and antioxidant activity, red wine has many positive effects including fighting inflammation throughout the body.
"Red wine has about five times more phytonutrients than white wine,"says Jo Robinson, investigative journalist and author of Eating on the Wild Side, which comes out in paperback in May. Phytonutrients are in the skins of the grapes and since the skins are removed immediately for white wine, red is the superior choice. Robinson says phytonutrient levels are easily gauged by holding your glass up to a light. The less light that comes through, the better. The list of healthiest red wines includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. So pour yourself a glass and read on about its benefits.
A paper that combined the results of 84 previous studies found that moderate drinkers of alcohol have a 14-25 percent decreased risk of cardiovascular disease compared with abstainers. This includes stroke, coronary heart disease, and heart attacks. What's more, Robinson says that red wine can even help further reduce cholesterol in men who are already taking statins. Many researchers believe the effects are even stronger for red wine because it contains resveratrol. A phytonutrient that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, resveratrol is believed to prevent blood vessel damage, reduce bad cholesterol, and prevent blood clots.
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