Page last updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
What happens when red wine meets red meat
New research suggests that when red wine is consumed alongside red meat, chemicals in the stomach may thwart the formation of harmful substances released during digestion of fat in the meat

Researchers attribute the documented benefits of moderate wine consumption—including protection against cancer and heart disease—to its high levels of polyphenols, compounds also found in fruits and vegetables.

Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants, substances that suppress destructive chemical reactions pro-moted by oxygen. But because the body doesn’t absorb polyphenols easily; scientists puzzle over how and where they exert their benefits. The researchers say they found one answer in tests with laboratory rats fed either red turkey meat or the same meat with red wine concentrate. Wine concentrate substantially reduced formation of two byprod-ucts of fat digestion, malondialdehyde and hydro peroxide, which are toxic to cells, the investigators said. The group claimed that red turkey meat is particularly prone to the harmful reactions, but that past re-search has found them to be common in meat products, red meat in particular.

The stomach appears to act as a “bioreactor” that facilitates wine’s beneficial effects, the researchers wrote. The polyphenols work not only to prevent generation of toxic compounds, but also to inhibit their entry to the blood stream, they added.

Source: American Chemical Soci-ety’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. J. Agric. Food Chem., 56 (13), 5002–5007, 2008. 10.1021/jf703700d. The Stomach as a “Bioreactor”: When Red Meat Meets Red Wine

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