Endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation are key phenomena in the pathobiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Their dietary modification might explain the observed reduction in CVD that has been associated with a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish, low in dairy products and with moderate alcohol and red wine consumption.
A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition investigated the associations between the above food groups and endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation in a population-based cohort of 801 elderly Dutch adults.
Diet was measured by food frequency questionnaire. Endothelial dysfunction and low-grade inflammation were evaluated and each allocated a biomarker score. Linear regression analyses were employed to adjust associations for sex, age, energy, glucose metabolism, body mass index, smoking, prior CVD, educational level, physical activity and each of the other food groups.
Moderate [(95% CI) −0.13 (−0.33; 0.07)] and high [−0.22 (−0.45; −0.003)] alcohol consumption, and red wine [−0.16 (−0.30; −0.01)] consumption, but none of the other food groups, were associated with a lower endothelial dysfunction biomarker score and a greater flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD). The associations for FMD were, however, not statistically significant. Only red wine consumption was associated with a lower low-grade inflammation biomarker score [−0.18 (−0.33; −0.04)].
Alcohol and red wine consumption may favourably influence processes involved in atherothrombosis, the authors conclude.
Source: Alcohol and red wine consumption, but not fruit, vegetables, fish or dairy products, are associated with less endothelial dysfunction and less low-grade inflammation: the Hoorn Study. van Bussel CT, Henry RMA, Schalkwijk CG et al. Eur J Nutr (2017). doi:10.1007/s00394-017-1420-4.