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Drink to Your Health: The Heart-Healthy Benefits of Wine

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Red vs. White vs. Sparkling

Red wine naturally contains phytochemicals. Two types of polyphenols -- catechins and resveratrol, found in the skin and seeds of grapes -- are thought to give red wine its antioxidant heart-healthy properties. The antioxidants in wine, called flavonoids, also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing bad LDL cholesterol, boosting good HDL cholesterol, and reducing blood clotting. One study even suggests that resveratrol may inhibit tumor growth for some cancers.

So how do all the different wines stack up against each other? "Red has more antioxidants than white, rose has similar to red, and there's not really any antioxidants in Champagne," says Lisa Young, adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and author of The Portion Teller Plan. Since polyphenol level is rooted in the grape skin, red wine holds superior to lighter-tinted wines -- though white wine does have some cardio-protective benefits. But while their antioxidant count is diminished, white wines retain the ability to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.

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