Volume 1, Issue 16
December 25, 2008

A healthy addition to your
holiday celebrations

It's Christmas Day. If you're celebrating today's holiday (and even if you're not), you might want to reach for a glass of red wine to help celebrate. Not only is it festive, but it could save your heart from all that junk food most of us eat on the holidays.

A study from researchers at the University of Palermo, Italy looked at the well-known connection between wine consumption and risk of heart disease.

You may have heard that this connection was due to resveratrol, a component of wine that protects the heart and arteries. But these researchers found that there's much more to wine than just resveratrol. Drinking wine exerts many other protective effects.

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Red wine improves your cholesterol levels. It decreases the tendency of the blood to form the abnormal clotting that leads to strokes. And it improves the way your cells, including the cells of the heart and arteries, use oxygen.

Because of this last effect, drinking wine is truly an anti-aging treatment. But that's not all the researchers found. Just like aspirin, wine decreases the way platelets stick together. I'd much rather take a glass of wine than an aspirin any day.

And, lastly, wine improves your endothelial function. Endothelial cells are the cells that line your arteries and capillaries. These cells regulate and balance blood flow and circulation. They do so by either relaxing and increasing blood flow, or by vasoconstricting and decreasing flow.

Wine helps these cells to relax and vasodilate. This causes increased blood flow and decreased blood pressure.

Of course, these benefits are greatly enhanced with a Mediterranean-type diet. But there's more to good health than just eating right - you have to drink right, too. So enjoy a glass of wine today. Just don't over-do it. One is plenty, maybe two. And it fits right in with the celebration.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

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