Getting to the Bottom of the French Paradox : Moderate Red Wine Consumption is Good for the Heart

In spite of a diet rich in saturated fat, the French have a much lower rate of cardiovascular disease than Americans. Researchers attribute this to the consumption of red wine, which has the power to bolster antioxidants in blood.

People with diabetes are prone to oxidative stress, especially during meals. Elevated levels of harmful oxidative stress can suppress the beneficial antioxidants. Oxidative stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease, which helps explain why there is a high incidence of cardiovascular disease among people with diabetes.

In a study published in the December 1999 issue of Diabetes Care, 10 type 2 middle-aged men showed that a moderate consumption of red wine during meals may help reduce oxidative stress in people with diabetes.

Blood samples were obtained from the men at the beginning of the study and hourly for up to three hours:

  • after a meal with no red wine;
  • after a meal with 300 ml. of red wine;
  • after 300 ml. of red wine but with no food.

The results showed:

  • The most significant increase in antioxidant activity took place after the subjects drank red wine while they were fasting.
  • The biggest decrease in antioxidant activity took place after the meal with no red wine.
  • A meal with red wine had the effect of counterbalancing the oxidative stress generated by eating.

In addition, the researchers also tested red wine against white wine. They found that red wine had six times the level of antioxidant properties of white wine.

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