Glass of wine with dinner helps you live longer, scientists claim

Heart experts reveal a glass of white or red wine with dinner followed by a cup of tea is a recipe for longer life

New research has found that both red and white wines have a protective effect against heart disease among those who take regular exercise Photo: Alamy
By Laura Donnelly, Health Editor, in Barcelona 4:28PM BST 31 Aug 2014

Have a glass of wine with dinner – but afterwards swap that coffee for a cup of tea, if you want to live longer, heart experts have pronounced.

New research has found that both red and white wines have a protective effect against heart disease among those who take regular exercise.

Until now, studies have shown suggested some benefits to the heart from drinking red wine, because it contains antioxidants and polyphenols, but no long-term trials have been carried out comparing wines of different colours.

Experts said the new Czech study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Barcelona appeared to show “some synergy” between the alcohol in wine and the benefits from regular exercise, which together seemed to strengthen the heart.

Separate research from France, presented at the same conference, compared mortality among tea and coffee drinkers.

It found that death rates from non-cardiac causes were 24 per cent lower among tea-drinkers than among those who did not drink it regularly.

The Czech study on alcohol tracked 146 people with a mild to moderate risk of heart disease.

Half were instructed to drink red wine (Pinot Noir) and half to drink white wine (Chardonnay-Pinot) in moderate quantities, for one year. This meant men could have 300ml – about two small glasses – while women could have 200ml – just more than a medium glass – up to five times a week.

Overall, there was no change to levels of “good” cholesterol among those drinking red or white wine.

But “positive and continuous” results were seen in a subgroup of participants who took exercise at least twice a week.

The improvements – a rise in “good” HDL cholesterol and a fall in total cholesterol – occurred regardless of whether they were drinking red or white wine.

Professor Milos Taborsky, the cardiologist who led the study, at Olomouc University Hospital, said: “We found that moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised. Red and white wine produced the same results.”

Participants kept a logbook on their consumption of wine, which was supplied by the trial, as well as about other alcoholic beverages, medication use, and amount and type of exercise. They were required to return the corks from the wine bottles to confirm that they had drank the wine rather than sold it.

Professor Taborsky, a cardiologist from Palacky University, in the Czech republic, said: “Our current study shows that the combination of moderate wine drinking plus regular exercise improves markers of atherosclerosis, suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease.”

The study of tea and coffee drinkers looked at 131,000 people who had health check ups in Paris over a seven-year period.

It found tea drinkers had 24 per cent lower mortality for non-cardiac causes, and slightly lower mortality for other causes.

Researchers said some of the differences were likely to be because tea-drinkers were healthier in other ways, being less likely than coffee drinkers to smoke.

Prof Nicholas Danchin from European Hospital Georges Pompidou said that based on the current evidence it was not clear whether it was the properties of tea itself or the lifestyles of those who drink it that gave them longevity.

But he said based on the current evidence, he would encourage people to choose a cup of tea rather than coffee.

Prof Danchin said: “Tea has antioxidants which may provide survival benefits. Tea drinkers also have healthier lifestyles so does tea drinking reflect a particular person profile or is it tea, per se, that improves outcomes – for me that remains an open question. “

“Pending the answer to that question, I think that you could fairly honestly recommend tea drinking rather than coffee drinking – and even rather than not drinking anything at all.”

· * Energy drinks can cause heart problems, new research suggests. The study by Prof Milou-Daniel Drici, from France, uncovered more than 250 reports of adverse events such as cardiovascular, neurological and psychiatric problems, including at least eight cardiac arrests and sudden or unexplained deaths, which were linked with the drinks.