Research carried out in October 2011 by the “Luigi Sacco” Department of Clinical Science at the University of Milan, and published in Food Research International, brought to light the protective action of a component of red wine (of a polyphenolic nature) against the deterioration of polyunsaturated fatty acids in blood plasma. Furthermore, the results of numerous previous epidemiological studies agree in asserting that a moderate consumption of red wine is associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as well as determining marked antioxidant activity against free radicals.
Red wine is particularly rich in polyphenols, a class of chemicals, mainly of plant origin, with known antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Significant quantities of these compounds are also found in other foods of plant origin – fruits of the forest, cocoa, tea and coffee – however wine distinguishes itself due to the fermentation of the grapes and the presence of alcohol. The metabolic activity of the microorganisms in wine brings about changes in the polyphenols, while the alcohol influences the level of polyphenols extracted and their absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. It has been demonstrated that people who consume a moderate amount live significantly longer than teetotallers or heavy drinkers.
The recent study carried out by the university of Milan examined the capacity of polyphenols (extracted from Italian red wine) to protect the polyunsaturated fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6, which circulate in the blood. The results obtained indicate that these polyphenols protect all the polyunsaturated fatty acids in blood plasma from oxidation more efficiently than vitamin E and that they safeguard Omega-3 more than Omega-6, thus, albeit indirectly, they have an anti-inflammatory action.