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What Are the Benefits of Grape Wine?

By Jonathan Thompson

Grape wine has played an important part in history, stretching back thousands of years. It has been used for recreational, ceremonial, dietary and medicinal purposes. The most traditional form of wine is produced through the fermentation of crushed grapes by yeast. Yeast consumes the natural sugars of the grape and converts them to alcohol. The resulting beverage has a variety of possible health benefits. Wine contains a high alcohol content and should be consumed legally and in moderation.

Reduces LDL Cholesterol

Red wine is rich in polyphenols, a group of compounds found naturally in plants with powerful antioxidant characteristics. According to a study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" red wine reduces the formation of LDL, the so-called "bad cholesterol." The study also showed that red wine may reduce the hardening of arteries due to the build-up of plaque, called aortic atherosclerosis.

Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones

Kidney stone patients are commonly advised by doctors to increase fluid intake in order to reduce a recurrence. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health tested the effects of 21 beverages on the risk of kidney stone formation. Wine decreased the risk by 39 percent in men and, in a later study, 59 percent in women.

May Reduce Risk of Cancer

Resveratrol is a compound produced by plants to defend themselves against attacks from bacteria and fungi. It is found in high concentrations in grape skins. During the production of white wine, the skins are removed and the resveratrol content is dramatically decreased. Resveratrol remains in red wine and inhibits the activity of carcinogens. Resveratrol may be responsible for the reduction of cancer of the upper digestive tract, lung, colon, basal cell carcinoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in studies with red wine.

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