Wine and exercise can protect from heart disease, new study says

Wine – both red and white – has a protective effect against heart disease among those who take regular exercise, according to a new Czech research.

Until now, studies have shown some benefits to the heart from drinking red wine, because it contains antioxidants and polyphenols, but no long-term trials have been carried out comparing wines of different colours.

Experts said the new Czech study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona, appeared to show “some synergy” between the alcohol in wine and the benefits from regular exercise, which together seemed to strengthen the heart.

The Czech study on alcohol tracked 146 people with a mild to moderate risk of heart disease.

Half were instructed to drink red wine and half to drink white wine in moderate quantities, for one year (300ml – about two small glasses – while women could have 200ml – just more than a medium glass – up to five times a week).

Overall, there was no change to levels of “good” cholesterol among those drinking red or white wine.

But “positive and continuous” results were seen in a subgroup of participants who took exercise at least twice a week.

The improvements – a rise in “good” high-density lipoprotein(HDL) cholesterol and a fall in total cholesterol – occurred regardless of whether they were drinking red or white wine.

Separate research from France, also presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona, comparing mortality among tea and coffee drinkers, found that death rates from non-cardiac causes were 24 per cent lower among tea-drinkers than among those who did not drink it regularly.

The tea and coffee drinkers study looked at 131,000 people who had health check-ups in Paris over a seven-year period.

Researchers said some of the differences were likely to be because tea-drinkers were healthier in other ways, being less likely than coffee drinkers to smoke.

Still, Prof Nicholas Danchin from European Hospital Georges Pompidou, said that “tea has antioxidants which may provide survival benefits. So, he recommends “tea drinking rather than coffee drinking – and even rather than not drinking anything at all.”

* Energy drinks can cause heart problems, new research suggests. The study by Prof Milou-Daniel Drici, from France, uncovered more than 250 reports of adverse events such as cardiovascular, neurological and psychiatric problems, including at least eight cardiac arrests and sudden or unexplained deaths, which were linked with the drinks.