Lets Do Wine Posting Page
Thursday, April 19, 2007
We’ve all heard that wine, in moderation, can be beneficial to your health…but have you ever wondered exactly how?

The skins of the grapes used to make red wine contain supercharged antioxidants known as Polyphenols. Antioxidants protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation. This oxidation process is similar to the process that occurs when metal rusts and is highly damaging to the human body. Our bodies produce a protein called Endothelin-1 (ET-1) which form fatty streaks on our artery walls increasing the risk of heart attack and hardening arteries. Polyphenols inhibit the production of ET-1 production thus protecting us from heart disease. Polyphenols also boost HDL cholesterol (the good kind).

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have zeroed in on a compound found in red wine called resveratrol that unlocks the anti-aging enzyme "SIR-2." As people age, DNA starts to naturally breakdown and so-called bad DNA accumulates in the cell. In laboratory experiments, Resveratrol activated the enzyme that prevented DNA breakdown from occurring. This is the first time that researchers were able to find a compound that can activate the enzyme. The DNA was then allowed more time to repair itself instead of naturally deteriorating. Researchers said the findings could one day lead to the development of drugs that would activate this enzyme to help keep DNA healthy and help people live longer.

Scientists at the University of California, have identified another group of chemicals found in red wine that is linked to the ability to lower cholesterol. Called saponins, these glucose-based plant compounds are being found in an increasing number of foods. "Saponins are a hot new food ingredient. People are just starting to pay attention to it," says study leader Waterhouse. "No one ever thought to look for it in wine."
The compounds are believed to come from the waxy skin of grapes, which dissolve into the wine during its fermentation process. To better understand their distribution in wine, Waterhouse conducted a preliminary study of six varieties of California wines — four red and two white — and compared them on the basis of their saponin content.
"Average dietary saponin intake has been estimated at 15 mg, while one glass of red has a total saponin concentration of about half that, making red wine a significant dietary source," the researcher says.

In general, it was found that red wine contains significantly higher saponin levels than white — about three to ten times as much. Among the red wines tested, red Zinfandel contained the highest levels. Syrah (shiraz) had the second highest, followed by Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, which had about the same amount. The white varieties tested, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, contained much less.

Although Merlot was not analyzed in this study, researchers believe it contains significant amounts of saponins at levels comparable to the other red wines.

To obtain maximum health benefits remember two important key factors:
1) Drink more red rather than white
2) drink in moderation. Cheers!

by: Lets Do Wine