Red Wine and Breast Cancer
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Red wine has long been thought to have certain health benefits, including the reduction of heart disease and many forms of cancer, including breast cancer. The link between red wine and breast cancer is thought to be due to the high concentration of antioxidants.
Red wine is chock full of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that are quite effective in fighting free radicals. One polyphenol in particular, resveratrol, is thought to be the key element in red wine’s healthful benefits.
About Free Radicals
Free radicals occur naturally within your body, but do have harmful effects. A free radical is formed when a molecule within your body has an unpaired electron. Free radicals are quite unstable and typically attack healthy cells. This attack can lead to aging, wrinkles, and illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, including breast cancer.
Antioxidants are powerful molecules that have the power to fight off free radicals. They are found in a wide variety of foods, mostly fruits and vegetables. Vitamins C and E are very effective antioxidants.
Other antioxidants, namely polyphenols, are particularly effective at neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals. Resveratrol is a polyphenol that has, in recent years, become the focus of many studies as a link between this antioxidant and cancer has been noted, thus leading to the phenomenon known as The French Paradox.
Resveratrol is produced by several plants when pathogens like fungi or bacteria attack them. It is naturally occurring in such plants as the white hellebore, Japanese knotweed, mulberries, and peanuts.
However, it is found in the highest concentration in the skin and seeds of grapes. Resveratrol has been linked to not only a reduction in breast cancer, but has also been noted to lower blood sugar, act as an anti-inflammatory agent, and to prevent heart disease.
Though there have not been any conclusive studies, as much more testing and research must be done on resveratrol and the positive health effects of red wine, there is the indication that it may help reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases. In some studies conducted on mice, resveratrol was found to slow the growth and prevent the spreading of cancerous tumors in some instances. It was also found to reduce the number of tumors in some cases.
The French Paradox
The French Paradox is a phenomenon that has gained much attention over the years. Basically, the French tend to suffer from coronary disease, breast cancer, and other diseases much less than the rest of the world despite a diet rich in saturated fats.
People in other countries that consume a similar diet but without the red wine have been found to suffer such illnesses at exponentially higher rates. It is thought that red wine is directly, and perhaps indirectly, responsible for this paradox. Experts, still studying the phenomenon, believe it is a combination of antioxidants, namely resveratrol, which is making the positive difference.
Drinking Red Wine
Because of the apparent connections between red wine and breast cancer, you may want to consider having a glass a day. Just remember, everything in moderation is key, so try not to enjoy an entire bottle of red wine on your own. Just as the old adage goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” we may very well find that a glass of red wine a day may be just enough to keep the breast cancer away.
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