Red wine is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the world, and many people have heard of the resveratrol, which are prevalent in the drink, but does red wine lower cholesterol? Apart from the high amount of naturally occurring polyphenols in red wine, the high antioxidant count and flavonoids (which are known cancer fighters) there is yet another ingredient newly recognized in red wine that does indeed lower cholesterol.
An element called saponins that occur naturally in red wine, help to lower cholesterol. These are glucose-based plant compounds that have shown great promise in reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL. Saponins come from the skins of grapes. Think of all the French people who eat a diet high in saturated fat, but drink red wine daily with their meals. They have lower incidences of high cholesterol among their population than those in the United States and several other countries. So does red wine lower cholesterol? Yes.
Although saponins are phytochemicals that can be found in many foods, there are concentrated amounts in red wine due to the fermentation process and the types of grapes used. In fact, there are about ten times as many saponins in red wines such as Merlot and Shiraz, as your favorite glass of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
Saponins work by attaching or binding to bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and not allowing it to stay in the blood. It is then excreted through the normal process of digestion. There are red grape extract tablets which you can take, but in studies they were not as effective as drinking one or two glasses of wine several times a week. Although drinking excessively can counteract the positive effects of red wine, it is quite helpful to pick a red wine if you are going to drink, and do it in moderation.
Does red wine lower cholesterol? Yes, indeed. Be sure to modify other habits though, for long lasting and effective results. Eat a balanced diet with lower fat foods and especially low saturated fats as these tend to increase bad cholesterol. Increase your fruits and vegetable intake, exercise at least 60 minutes three to five times a week, and lower your stress levels by spending time in nature or unplugging your cell phone. You can also take Niacin supplements and increase your Omega three intake by eating lean fish and olive oil. Drink your red wine a few times a week and Viva la France! Your cholesterol is on its way back to better levels — just because you asked does red wine lower cholesterol?