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Does Red Wine Increase HDL Levels?

By Lindsay Gulla

Consumed in moderation, red wine has long been believed to have many heart healthy benefits. Polyphenols found in red wine have been suggested to help improve cholesterol levels. Research demonstrates that red wine may play a role in lowering your LDL -- bad cholesterol -- while increasing your HDL -- good cholesterol.

Heart Healthy Properties

Antioxidants found in the skin and seeds of grapes used to make red wine may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Some studies have revealed that resveratrol may be linked to a decreased risk of inflammation and blood clotting, helping to protect your heart. Having one to two alcoholic drinks per day, including red wine, has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol by approximately 12 percent. Higher HDL levels help to flush out some of the LDL, decreasing the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries.

Red Wine Consumption

One serving of red wine is equivalent to 4 oz. Men will benefit from drinking one to two servings per day, while one serving per day is recommended for women. Drinking more than the recommended amount may have negative health implications. Long-term alcohol use and binge drinking can lead to damage in your nerve cells, liver and pancreas. If you are thinking about adding red wine to your diet, consult with your doctor first.

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What Kind of Red Wine Should You Drink?

Various wines were tested at the University of California to determine which have the highest concentrations of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Research revealed that drier red wines carried the most flavonoids, while sweeter red wines had fewer. They also concluded that the flavonoid favorite is Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir. Both Merlots and red zinfandels have fewer flavonoids than their more potent predecessors. White wine had significantly smaller amounts than the red wine varieties.

What Does Research Show?

Results from 51 epidemiological studies suggest that the risk of developing coronary heart disease decreases by about 20 percent when you consume up to two alcoholic beverages per day. Among those that benefited include healthy adults, patients with a history of heart attack, and patients with diabetes. Another study revealed that drinking one to two alcoholic drinks per day about three to four times per week lowered the risk of having a heart attack by as much as 32 percent.

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