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What Are the Benefits of Polyphenols in Wine?

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  • Written By: Steven Symes
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Polyphenols in wine come from the grape juice used in the production of grape-based wines. These polyphenols are antioxidants, which means they help prevent various forms of cancer from forming in the body. Consuming polyphenols in wine can also help prevent a variety of cardiovascular problems, assist in reversing diabetes in adults and may help obese people lose excess weight.

Consuming the polyphenols in wine can help fight against inflammatory mediated diseases, promoting greater overall health. Inflammatory mediated disease includes coronary artery disease, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease. Some research even suggests that aging is in part a result of inflammation, leading some to suggest that consuming wine helps people stay more youthful.

The body’s cells are affected by the polyphenols in wine, but in different ways depending on the types of cells. Cardiovascular cells, such as those found in hearth tissue, gain protection from damage and increase a person’s overall cardiovascular health. When polyphenols come into contact with cancerous cells, the polyphenols promote the cells’ death and help stop the spread of the cancer to surrounding cells.

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Red wine in particular contains high levels of polyphenols as compared to other wines. Different types of polyphenols found in red wine include resveratol, anthocyanins, phenolic acids and flavonoids. Recent research shows that resveratol provide a majority of the health benefits derived from consuming wine. Research also shows that the digestive tract and the liver render most of the resveratol inactive. If a person holds the wine in his mouth, the mucous membranes inside the mouth absorb a much higher amount of active resveratol, presenting greater health benefits than quickly ingesting the wine.

The amount of resveratol and other polyphenols in wine that are consumed by a person also affects the health benefits derived by an individual. Research shows that consuming lower levels of polyphenols promotes healthy cardiovascular and neurological cells, protecting them from damage. Consuming higher amounts of polyphenols promotes the death of aging cells in the body, preventing cancers from spreading from cell to cell.

The French paradox is one example of the health benefits of polyphenols in wine. The French suffer a lower rate of cardiovascular disorders, such as heart disease, than many other populations across the world. Despite this, the French also consume a high amount of saturated fats, which are harmful to cardiovascular health, because of their regular consumption of wine made from grapes. Consuming other dietary sources rich in polyphenols, such as blueberries, in regular and high enough quantities presents similar health benefits.

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