Why a glass of red wine with your steak can LOWER cholesterol
Red wine helps to prevent release of damaging compounds in dark meat that can raise cholesterolResearchers say may be the reason why red wine has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease
16:19 GMT, 14 January 2013
13:01 GMT, 15 January 2013
For those who dither over whether to have that glass of wine with dinner, it's good news.
Scientists have discovered that washing down red meat with a glass of red can actually prevent the build-up of cholesterol in the body.
And they say it may be the reason why red wine has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Washing down red meat with a glass of red may prevent the build-up of cholesterol in the body
The researchers, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, found that after eating red or dark meat, compounds called malondialdehyde accumulate in the blood stream.
These can help to form the type of cholesterol that can raise the risk of heart disease.
But when volunteers drank red wine, these compounds were not absorbed into the blood stream.
The researchers say this is because antioxidants in the wine – known as polyphenols – prevented these harmful compounds from being absorbed.
One group of volunteers was given dark turkey cutlets to eat over four days and asked to not eat any other types of meat or fish.
Antioxidants in red wine – known as polyphenols – may prevent harmful compounds which raise cholesterol from being absorbed
Another group also ate the cutlets, but they were marinated in red wine.
The wine drinkers were found to have lower levels of the harmful compound malondialdehyde in their blood.
Lead researcher Professor Ron Kohen told the Daily Telegraph: 'Meat is rich in polyunsaturated fat and cholesterol.
'Our results could provide an explanation for the association between frequent meat consumption and increased risk in developing cardiovascular diseases. Including polyphenol rich products as an integral part of the meal significantly diminish these harmful effects.'
He added that the fact the cutlets were marinated in red wine would have a similar effect to the volunteers drinking the wine with the meal.
After four meals, those who didn't consume the wine saw their modified cholesterol levels (associated with heart disease) rise by 97 per cent.
But those who did saw their levels remain unchanged or actually decrease.
The study is published in the Journal of Functional Foods.
Last month, researchers from the University of Leicester reported that drinking a large glass of red wine every day could help prevent bowel cancer.
Resveratrol, found in the skins of red grapes and which gives the wine its colour, has long been known to have cancer-fighting properties.
Wine also contains high levels of antioxidant compounds called flavonols which are good for the circulation and red wine increases levels of 'good' cholesterol in the blood.