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In recent years, scientists have concluded without doubt that many human diseases such as heart disease, cancer and ill-effects of the aging process can be caused or stimulated by a ravenous group of chemicals called free radicals. They act to create oxidative inflammatory damage in tissues such as blood vessels(Clogged arteries) and in joints called Rheumatics or Arthritis and in localised cells called benign growths or Systemic fully-blown cancers .
In this scenario, there is however a knight-in-shining-armour that jumps to the rescue and purges these ever hungry little killers. The name of our crusader is Antioxidants.
Without getting too technical, the oxidation process in our bodies is crucial for health, without it, for instance, we would not be able to extract energy from our food. However if there are too many free radicals in our bodies, this can be very harmful.
Our body has its own defences against free radicals, in the form of enzymes that are able to turn the hungry little tissue-devouring sharks into harmless water but sometimes our body’s natural defence mechanisms can’t cope.
Other times, external events can cause huge increases of free radicals within our bodies, such as x-rays, cigarette smoke and exposure toother toxic substances. And so a surge of free radicals can swamp our defences and illnesses may take place.
So what does oxidation and free radicals have to do with heart disease?
Low density lipoprotein, commonly know as “bad” LDL, can penetrate and gather against the inner walls of our arteries which under certain conditions, form fatty streaks and plaque.
Taken alone, LDL particles aren’t so dangerous it seems, however, when attacked by free radicals they turn into dangerous and somewhat aggressive cells, capable of actually penetrating and harming the smooth inner walls of our arteries through localised inflammation thereof, So Oxidized LDL is known to be the culprit in stimulating atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke.
Antioxidants, as the name suggests, help stop the oxidation process, which are the results of free radicals doing their stuff and Most antioxidant research has been carried out on vitamins (A, E, beta carotene) but quite a lot of work has also been done on the healthy benefits of red wine.
While most research on red wine has been done in relation to coronary heart disease, it seems that the benefits of wine don’t stop there.
Fo instance, Red wine contains a wide range of flavanoids; these are the chemicals that give the wine its particular taste, color and character, making one different from another. Many of these flavanoids act like antioxidants.
Perhaps the forerunner of wine research was carried out by a one Serge Renaud, who discovered the French Paradox, which suggested that wine was the decisive factor in protecting the people in southern France from their very high fat diets and ultimately coronary heart disease.
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