Red wine drinkers have long justified refilling their glasses by citing the beverage’s purported health benefits. That rationalization may no longer work.
A long-term study of nearly 800 Italians with a diet rich in resveratrol concluded that the compound found in red wine, berries and dark chocolate actually had no effect.
Researchers from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine monitored the health of 783 elderly men and women living in two villages in the Chianti region of Italy over a period of 15 years.
After controlling for age and gender, the researchers found those participants with high levels of resveratrol in their urine samples were just as likely to die or develop cardiovascular disease or cancer as those with lower levels of the compound.
In addition to red wine, the chemical resveratrol is found in purple grape juice, peanuts, red grape skins, and mulberries. It may expand blood vessels and reduce the activity of cells that help blood clotting, according to WebMD.
“The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn’t stand the test of time,” said Richard Semba, a professor of ophthalmology at John Hopkins University.
But don’t put down that glass of Pinot Noir just yet. There may be other components in red wine that help reduce inflammation and protect the heart.