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Wine May Lengthen the Lives of Heart Attack Survivors

Update Date: Mar 04, 2013 12:13 PM EST
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Discovering the health benefits of wine never seems to stop as researchers discover that wine can contribute to a longer life for heart attack patients. The common belief, based from studies surrounding wine's benefits, is that wine can prevent heart disease when consumed in moderation. Whether or not wine alone contains biological mechanisms that can directly benefit the heart is still unknown. According to new research, wine appears to help extend the lives of people who have already suffered from a heart attack. The study, published in the International Journal of Cardiology, was headed by researchers from Harvard Medial School.

The researchers wanted to observe the advantages of wine for heart attack survivors. They analyzed data from 11,248 Italian men and women who were recent survivors of a heart attack. The researchers focused on the participants' dietary habits and wine consumption and did two follow-ups. The first follow-up was three and a half years after the first heart attack and the second follow-up was seven years after the first follow-up. The researchers recorded the number of heart attacks the patients had, as well as the mortality rates of these patients, in these subsequent years and they found that consuming about half a liter of wine a day, equivalent to two glasses, cuts the risks for another heart attack by 13 percent. That rate was 17 percent lower than the rate for non-drinkers.

Despite this finding, the researchers stressed that the participants were already wine drinkers. They do not know the effects of wine on heart attack survivors who were previously never drinkers. Furthermore, the researchers stressed that men and women should not consume more than four and three glasses respectively per day. The researchers also noted other effects that could have contributed to their findings. For example, people who have fatty diets, do not exercise, and are frequent smokers increase their risks for heart attacks. In addition, wine drinkers may have healthier diets that aid in fighting heart diseases. For example, people who have a Mediterranean diet tend to consume more wine and fruits and vegetables, which also help reduce risks for heart attacks.

"In our study, subjects who drank wine appeared healthier than those who don't drink and we also found dietary habits were worse in those with high wine intake," the researchers said.

The benefits of red wine are attributed to the antioxidants found in the wine. These antioxidants are believed to prevent cardiovascular diseases because it controls the build-up of harmful cholesterol and inflammation in the blood vessels. However, despite this finding, there are better options in lowering risks for heart attacks, such as increasing exercise, eating healthier, and making better decisions for the body and mind.  

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