Red wine is believed to be the key behind the “French Paradox.” The idea that one can eat, drink and be merry to their heart’s content…provided that drink is red wine.
What I mean is, the typical French cuisine leans primarily on red meats, heavy carbs and rich buttery sauces. And yet the incidence of heart disease in France is shockingly low.
One theory being that they benefit from the antioxidant power of resveratrol—a powerful polyphenol found in red wine. Which the French are also known for indulging in liberally.
Aside from this apparent paradox, resveratrol has also been associated with life-extending powers in mouse studies and its ability to counter the effects of a high-calorie diet.
In an effort to prevent other forms of alcohol from being jealous of red wine’s power, researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, in Toronto, Canada, set out to see how other alcoholic beverages affected heart health.
As it turns out, red wine isn’t the lone superstar it’s been chalked up to be. In the study, one drink of spirits had the same affect on heart health as one glass of red wine.
Researchers believe that alcohol in general has a relaxing effect on blood vessels, thus its beneficial effects. They noted, however, that two or more drinks put more of a stress on the cardiovascular system—increasing heart rate, blood pressure and overall activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
Even though this was a very small study, involving only 13 people, it certainly speaks to the benefits an occasional drink.
And while no one could fault you an occasional drink in the name of good health, the American Heart Association does not recommend implementing a glass-a-day heart health regimen.