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Cabernet Sauvignon wine called good for arteries

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  • April 26, 1999
    Web posted at: 3:46 p.m. EDT (1946 GMT)

    LONDON (CNN) -- Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich and hearty wine, may be one of the best varietals for a healthy heart, according to a French researcher.

    In an editorial in the British medical journal Heart, Dr. Jean-Paul Broustet of Haut Leveque Hospital in Pessac, southern France, says the grapes used to create the red wine are rich in resveratrol, a component that increases HDL "good" cholesterol and limits the production of artery-blocking LDL cholesterol.

    Red grapes produce resveratrol to protect themselves from a potentially deadly fungus.

    "The highest concentrations of resveratrol ... are found in red wines, particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon grapes of Bordeaux," he wrote.

    Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its deep flavor and aroma. It is full-bodied and intense, sometimes with herbal or fruit flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown worldwide, including the United States and Chile.

    Mounting research over the past few years has found moderate wine consumption may lower the risk of heart disease. Some phenolic compounds in the grape are thought to work as antioxidants to prevent cell damage from oxygen-containing chemicals called free radicals.

    Phenolic compounds including resveratrol are found in high concentrations in grape skins, seeds and stems. Red wine, which uses all of these grape parts, tends to contain more antioxidant nutrients than white wine.

    However, much research indicates that it's primarily the alcohol in wine that lowers LDL protein by thinning the blood, making it less likely to clot.

    Health experts say while alcohol can be beneficial, moderation is key. USDA guidelines recommend no more than one drink (5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of liquor) a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.

    Reuters contributed to this report.

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