Ask the Winemaker: Is drinking wine good for my heart?
According to a Czech study reported to the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, wine protects against cardiovascular disease in people who exercise.
Professor Milos Taborsky, who led the study, said: "This is the first randomized trial comparing the effects of red and white wine on markers of atherosclerosis in people at mild to moderate risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We found that moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised. Red and white wine produced the same results."
According to Taborsky, evidence suggesting that mild to moderate consumption of wine protects against CVD has been accumulating since the early 1990s. In particular, retrospective studies have found that wine increases levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol. But, until now, there has been no long-term, prospective, randomized study comparing the effects of red and white wine on HDL cholesterol and other markers of atherosclerosis.
The study included 146 people with mild to moderate risk of cardiovascular disease. Participants were randomized to one year of moderate consumption (200 mililiters for women and 300ml for men, a maximum of five times a week) of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay from the same year and wine region of the Czech Republic.
Participants kept a logbook on their consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages, medication use, and amount and type of exercise.
"The only positive and continuous result was in the subgroup of patients who took more exercise, which means regular exercise at least twice a week, plus the wine consumption. In this group HDL cholesterol increased and LDL and total cholesterol decreased in the red and white wine groups. There may be some synergy between the low dose of ethyl alcohol in wine and exercise, which is protective against CVD." said Taborsky.
He continued: "In a future study we will compare the effects of red and white wine on markers of atherosclerosis in patients at high risk for CVD who take statins and do regular exercise. We hope to find that moderate wine consumption is safe in these patients."
Professor Taborsky concluded: "Our current study shows that the combination of moderate wine drinking plus regular exercise improves markers of atherosclerosis, suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease."
A glass or two of Nice Reserve Malbec with dinner after our jog in the park? Yes of course! Doctor's orders.