“You have to keep a balance,” he said. “The study, pushed recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, recommended seven glasses of wine a week. That is a safe consumption level of a glass a day.”
The study was so successful – chronicling the progress of 7,400 people at risk of heart disease for nearly five years – that it was halted early. The group followed a diet regimen of food rich in fruit, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, whole grains and lean meats. The stunning results showed that food rich in those elements can reduce health risks by 30 percent.
In Dr. Sinatra’s book, “The Great Cholesterol Myth,” he said “sugar is your foe, cholesterol is your friend and taking statins is not always the best medicine. There are misconceptions about heart disease and cholesterol is not the major culprit.
“Adding a Mediterranean diet with less red meat and more olive oil, fruits and vegetables along with red and white wine is a great idea, he said. The grape has a positive effect because of the quercetin that prevents the oxidation of cholesterol. In other words, it’s friendly to the inner lining of the blood vessels.”
Dr. Sinatra warned that wine is not the panacea for avoiding heart disease and used France as an example: The French have very high cholesterol levels (around 275) , which is higher than the average American’s level. However, they have the lowest incident of heart disease in Western Europe.
“They wash down their rich pates, gravies and cheeses with a lot of wine,” he said. “Unfortunately, this results in the highest rate of liver problems in the world.”