Does red wine contain caffeine, or any other ingredient that may cause insomnia?
A chemical in red wine called resveratrol has been shown to have both cardioprotective and chemoprotective effects in animal studies. Low doses of resveratrol in the diet of middle-aged mice has a widespread influence on the genetic levers of aging and may confer special protection on the heart. Specifically, low doses of resveratrol mimic the effects of what is known as caloric restriction - diets with 20-30 percent fewer calories than a typical diet. Resveratrol is produced naturally by grape skins in response to fungal infection, including exposure to yeast during fermentation. As white wine has minimal contact with grape skins during this process, it generally contains lower levels of the chemical. Other beneficial compounds in wine include other polyphenols, antioxidants, and flavonoids.
Red wines from south of France and from Sardinia in Italy have been found to have the highest levels of procyanidins, which are compounds in grape seeds suspected to be responsible for red wine's heart benefits. Red wines from these areas have between two and four times as much procyanidins as other red wines. Procyanidins suppress the synthesis of a peptide called endothelin-1 that constricts blood vessels.
A 2007 study found that both red and white wines are effective anti-bacterial agents against strains of Streptococcus. Interestingly, wine has traditionally been used to treat wounds in some parts of the world.
While evidence from both laboratory studies as well as epidemiological (observational) studies suggest a cardioprotective effect, no controlled studies have yet been completed that study the effect of alcoholic drinks on the risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Moreover, excessive consumption of alcohol can cause some diseases including cirrhosis of the liver and alcoholism. Also, the American Heart Association cautions people "not to start drinking ... if they do not already drink alcohol. Consult your doctor on the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation."
Based on the United Kingdon [UK] unit system for measuring alcoholic content, the average bottle of wine contains 9.4 units.
Sulphites are present in all wines and are formed as a natural product of the fermentation process. Additionally, many wine producers add sulfur dioxide in order to help preserve wine. The level of added sulfites varies, and some wines have been marketed with low sulfite content. Sulphites in wine are not a problem for most people, although some, particularly those with asthma, can have adverse reactions. Sulfur dioxide is also added to many other foods as well, such as dried apricots and orange juice.
Wine's effect on the brain has also been studied. Although some researchers have concluded that wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape reduces the risk of Alzheimer's Disease, others have found that among diagnosed alcoholics, wine damages the hippocampus to a greater degree than other alcoholic beverages.
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