It has long been common knowledge that the antioxidants found in many varieties of red wine have a range of health benefits to offer when consumed in moderation.
A interesting study, however, indicates that there may be far more to consider when examining the ways in which wine affects the body, particularly heart health.
Revealed on August 31, 2014, the study in question is entitled "In Vino Veritas" (In Wine, Truth) and was led by Milos Taborsky. Taborsky, the head cardiologist at Palacky University Hospital in the Czech Republic, tracked the effects of wine consumption on 146 subjects for a period of one year.
He had the subjects consume what he determined to be moderate amounts of wine. In this case, that meant men would drink two to two-and-a-half servings five days weekly and women would drink one to two servings with the same frequency. Taborsky then had each of the participants log all of their dietary habits, physical exercise, and medication intake in a journal.
Half of the 146 subjects drank a Pinot noir, while the other half had a chardonnay Pinot. Wine Spectator reported that Taborsky had each subject mail back the corks from every bottle to prove they were not simply selling the wine and forging their logs.
In order to determine the effects that wine consumption and exercise habits had on the subjects, Taborsky and company also measured their HDL and LDL cholesterol levels prior to, periodically throughout, as well as after the study.
In addition to the two types of cholesterol, the researchers also observed levels of proteins, triglycerides, and blood glucose in all 146 subjects. Wine Spectator reports that Taborsky's initial prediction was that those drinking red wine would see a 13 percent increase in HDL (“good” cholesterol) while the white wine group would only see a five percent raise.
Upon checking these levels one year into the study, Taborsky found that HDL levels were virtually unchanged, while LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels were lower in both groups. Total cholesterol at the end of the study was lower overall for the group of subjects who had been consuming red wine.
These realizations inspired Taborsky to run a series of sub analyses, in which he determined that exercise habits and benefits from wine were correlated. Specifically, Taborsky noticed that wine drinkers of both varieties who exercised moderately (twice or more weekly) had increased HDL levels and a lowered risk for heart disease or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). While further study is needed to confirm Taborsky's findings, the cardiologist summated his belief regarding the study in a statement to The Atlantic:
"Our current study suggests that the combination of moderate wine drinking plus regular exercise improves markers of atherosclerosis, suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease."