Q: Can wine really be a "fountain of youth" and help you live longer?
A: Dr. Peter Curran, director of cardiovascular rehabilitation at St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco, answers:
The compound found in wine—primarily in the skins of red grapes—called resveratrol, has been shown in mice to lengthen their lifespan even despite being fed a high fat diet. Human studies are now underway to see if there is a similar benefit. A theory of the positive effects of the compound resveratrol found in wine is in improving health because of its antioxidant properties. These properties help reduce inflammation, which is an important factor in preventing cardiovascular disease. Additionally, scientists have discovered that a calorie-restricted diet favors increased longevity. Resveratrol may be a way to get the same benefit of longevity without caloric restriction. It is found in wine or in the skins of red grapes [as well as other foods like peanuts, blueberries and cranberries], and it is also in the process of being developed synthetically in the lab.
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