If you love a good glass of red wine — be it a smooth merlot or peppery cab sav or shiraz — this is the good news story for you.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo have reported that a plant extract found in the skin of grapes can help prolong life and health due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
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Resveratrol is a compound produced naturally by some plants when attacked by pathogens — including bacteria and fungi — and is found in the skin of red grapes and red wine, the university's website explained.
Previous studies have shown that resveratrol prolongs life and reduces inflammation in yeast and animals, but this study was the first involving human participants.
The study's 20 volunteer participants were split into two even groups, with one group taking a nutritional supplement containing 40mg of resveratrol while the other group received a placebo.
Participants took the pill once a day for six weeks, with fasting blood samples taken prior to the study and at weeks one, three and six.
Researchers found that the resveratrol supplement suppressed the generation of free radicals — which are known to cause inflammation and damage to blood vessel lining. The plant extract also reduced the inflammatory protein tumour necrosis factor (TNF), which has been linked to insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes. Those in the second group taking the placebo pill showed no change in pro-inflammatory markets, the study found.
Senior author on the study Dr Paresh Dandona, said in the long term, these inflammatory factors can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, ageing, heart disease and stroke.
However, Dr Dandona added the caveat that they research team couldn't be 100 percent sure the anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing affects were solely from resveratrol, suggesting that it could be another extract responsible.
"The product we used has only 20 percent resveratrol, so it is possible that something else in the preparation is responsible for the positive effects," Dr Dandona said.
"These agents could be even more potent than resveratrol. Purer preparations now are available and we intend to test those."
Whether it's the resveratrol or another extract, the results are clear — red wine, in moderation, is good for your health in more ways than one — so banish any guilt as you settles down a glass of your favourite red tonight.
ARWEE - Manigluck