A UK doctor is so sure of the health benefits of red wine and its ability to help stave off heart attacks that he has been prescribing it to his patients for the last 10 years.
Dr William McCrea, 58, of Bath, advises his heart disease patients to drink two glasses of red wine a day and even hands it out on his rounds – an unusual practice prompted by a report some 10 years ago that the French suffer fewer heart attacks despite fattier diets and higher smoking rates, as reported by the Bath Chronicle.
The cardiologist believes its antioxidant properties have reduced the risk of a second heart attack in his patients by half, and the risk of a stroke by 20%.
So confident of its benefits is the doctor, that for the past decade he has regularly dished out 125ml measures of red to patients at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he works, even prescribing different vintages for their higher levels of antioxidants.
Speaking to the Bath Chronicle, Dr McCrea said: “In France people consume twice the amount of fat that we do, they smoke more and they don’t do any more exercise, but their deaths from heart attacks are half ours.
“If you drink it moderately – no more than two glasses – it has a beneficial effect on coronary disease. It does three things: It prevents clots from developing inside the arteries, it raises good cholesterol, which is called HDL, and it causes dilatation of the arteries.
“It stops you having a heart attack again, if it is in moderation. I’ve given it to 10,000 patients. You would have to drink five litres of fruit juice to get the same benefits as two glasses of red wine.
“When somebody has a heart attack it’s a shock, people are alarmed and anxious so the red wine also helps to relax them and reduce stress.”
Dr McCrea also believes a dose of vino rouge helps stave off blood clots by helping to keep the lining of blood vessels smooth.
Resveratrol, the well-documented compound found in the skins of red wine grapes, is believed to be responsible for many of the health benefits of red wine.
The antioxidant has been credited for protecting against everything from obesity to heart disease.