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Pigments in Red Wine may Help Heart

separator The French eat lots of cheese, buttery sauces and rich foods in general, but they don't have as much heart disease as we do in the US. This phenomenon has been called the French Paradox.

It's also well known that the French drink a lot of red wine, and a study in the journal Nature suggests that pigments in red wine may be providing a protective effect. The pigments, called polyphenols, inhibit the production of a peptide that contributes to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. The peptide is called endothelin 1.

It appears it's only red wine, not white or rose and not even red grape juice, that has the protective effect. Red grape juice carries the pigment, but doesn't reduce endothelin 1.The study's researchers believe that something about the wine making process changes some of the properties of the pigment.

Nature, 20 December 2001.
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