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German Heart Foundation: Red wine lowers the risk of heart attack
Drinking red wine in moderation can reduce the risk of heart attacks. However, a positive effect can only be achieved if a low dose is not exceeded per day. Because drinking alcohol is generally harmful to the cardiovascular system. According to the German Heart Foundation in Frankfurt am Main, moderate red wine consumption can protect against calcification of the blood vessels and even lower high cholesterol levels. The cardiologists rely on current scientific studies that established an empirical connection between red wine and a reduced occurrence of cardiovascular diseases.
Only small amounts are considered to promote health
"A lot does not help much", because it depends on the daily dose. Some people think that a whole bottle of red wine a day protects even more from a heart attack. "This is not true in any case," say doctors. Because the nerve poison alcohol increases in particular the risk of cardiovascular diseases. But: A moderate consumption of at most one or two glasses of red wine can protect against limescale deposits in the blood vessels. In minimal doses, the grape juice helps prevent calcification in the arteries, says Dr. med. Thomas Meinertz, heart specialist and CEO of the German Heart Foundation: "The antioxidants in wine slow down the breakdown of nitrogen monoxide in the blood." This effect means that dangerous deposits are less likely to be responsible for narrowing the vessels. If the pathways are narrowed, many patients feel chest pain and heart pain, which often announce themselves as a harbinger of an infarction. If the arteries are blocked, there is a life-threatening heart attack. Almost half of those affected do not survive such a heart attack.
Red wine lowers bad cholesterol
The red wine can also positively change blood lipid levels in humans. LDL cholesterol in the blood is partly responsible for calcification of the arteries. Another effect: According to the doctor, the alcohol thins the blood more than other substances. An increased blood flow occurs after consumption, which means that "the inner walls of the vessels slowly expand and become more elastic," explains the cardiologist. This process also significantly reduces the risk of heart attack.
Lower positive effects also with other drinks
While most studies primarily looked at the effects of red wine, there are also indications that moderate consumption of white wine and beer is also beneficial to health. However, the positive side effect of both drinks is not quite as pronounced as that of red wine. Beer and white wine contain a high proportion of flavonoids, which can inhibit inflammatory processes and therefore also have a positive effect on the heart.
Study from France confirms valuable properties
The expert of the Heart Foundation refers to research that has investigated the occurrence of heart attacks in northern and southern France. Scientists have noticed an enormous difference between the regions. In southern France, people suffer significantly less from heart diseases than in the north, Meinertz reports. In Brittany and Normandy, on average, more alcohol is consumed. On the Mediterranean coast and in Provence, people mostly drink more red wine than anywhere else. Despite the rather fatty food, the wine, which is traditionally usually drunk with food, seems to have a beneficial effect.
Guide values should not be exceeded
The question remains about the quantity. According to the expert, the maximum amount of 20 grams of alcohol per 24 hours applies to men. For comparison: this corresponds to two small glasses of red wine. Due to the slightly different physical constitution, women should only drink 10 grams, i.e. a glass of red wine. The usual amount of beer is 0.5 liters, but the maximum for women is 0.25 liters per day. However, the doctor emphasizes, these are only guidelines that do not always apply to everyone. If alcohol is generally poorly tolerated, the amount stated is already too much. Therefore, the motto is: "You don't have to drink red wine to stay healthy," as the heart doctor emphasized. Especially patients with kidney disease, diabetes and pregnant women should adhere to the strict alcohol ban. After all, alcohol is a nerve poison that can cause serious damage to the organism.
The time for a glass of red wine should be chosen correctly. It is best to drink wine in the evening, Meinertz recommends. This is relaxing and goes well with a healthy salad. If you don't like red wine, alternative practitioners also recommend taking red wine extract. These also contain valuable phytochemicals. (sb)
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