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Red Wine, Resveratrol and Cancer

Posted Oct 27 2008 3:14pm

New research suggests that drinking the occasional glass of red wine may help men to reduce their risk of developing lung cancer.

Research scientist Chun Chao investigated the relationship between lung cancer risk and beer, red wine, white wine, and liquor consumption in men. Adjustments were made for factors affecting lung cancer risk, such as age, race/ethnicity, education, income, body mass index, history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema, and smoking history.

The results showed that lung cancer risk dropped by approximately 2% for every glass of red wine a man drunk each month. Results also revealed that drinking red wine dramatically reduced the risk of lung cancer in smokers - male smokers who drank one to two glasses of red wine each day were found to be 60% less likely to develop lung cancer than other smokers who did not drink red wine. However, Chao warns that male smokers who drink one to two glasses of red wine each day are still more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers.

Interestingly, when I wrote my latest book, The Healthiest Meals on Earth I based all the meals and recipes on the concept of the Polymeal- a notion first explored in the British Medical Journal by researchers who calculated that you could reduce heart disease by over 75% and give people an extra 9 good years of life if everyone ate a meal of 7 basic ingredients on a regular basis. One of those ingredients was red wine.

Consumption of white wine, beer, or liquor, was not found to have a significant effect upon lung cancer risk.

Although the reasons why red wine should reduce lung cancer risk are unconfirmed. Chao believes that "an antioxidant component" may well be responsible. "Red wine is known to contain high levels of antioxidants. There is a compound called resveratrol that is very rich in red wine because it is derived from the grape skin. This compound has shown significant health benefits in preclinical studies," Chao said in a news release issued by the American Association for Cancer Research.

I've long believed resveratrol- one of the most powerful antioxidants found in red wine and the skins of dark grapes- is one of the best anti-aging supplements you can take (I take resveratrol every day). We know resveratrol seems to have life extending properties from lab experiments- perhaps it also has cancer fighting ones as well.

The study is due to be published in the October Issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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