A new study led by an Indian-origin researcher has revealed that the heart benefits of a glass of white wine are similar as that of a tipple of red wine.
To reach the conclusion, rats were fed white wine as part of their diet and the researchers found that the animals suffered less heart damage during cardiac arrest, compared to animals fed only water or grain alcohol.
The benefits were similar to animals that ingested a red wine or its wonder ingredient found only in grape skin, resveratrol.
White wine, which is made from the pulp of the grape but not the skin, contains no resveratrol, which led many to pin the so-called "French paradox" - high fat intake but low rates of heart disease - on moderate consumption of red wines.
Not just reds, says Dipak Das, a molecular biologist at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington.
"The flesh of the grape can do the same job as the skin," News Scientist quoted him, as saying.
Das and team gave lab rats measured doses - roughly equivalent to one or two glasses a day - of red or white Italian wines, while others received comparable doses of different chemical ingredients thought to underlie the health benefits of wine, called polyphenols.
In lab rats that suffered heart attacks, the animals that received wine or polyphenols experienced less heart damage, compared to rats fed water or straight liquor. Their blood pressure and aortic blood flow plummeted less drastically as well, the study found.
Molecular tests of heart cells suggest that white wine protects the cell's powerhouses - mitochondria. Damage to these structures caused by lack of oxygen and nutrients can send cells down one-way path to suicide, or apoptosis.
The study has been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.