Sherry Joins Ranks of Heart-Friendly Drinks

Like red wine, sherry contains antioxidants called polyphenols that help control cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, claims a study by researchers at the University of Seville in Spain.

"Sherry is widely consumed, especially in Spain and the U.K., and we have shown that its moderate intake decreased total cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol," researcher Juan M. Guerrero says in a prepared statement.

The polyphenols in sherry prevent the oxidation of bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and can also increase production of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is associated with longevity and decreased incidence of coronary artery disease.

The Spanish researchers gave rats sherry each day for more than two months. The daily amount given to each rat was the equivalent of a 150 milliliter serving consumed by a 70-kilogram human adult.

The sherry didn't affect the rats' weights and had no significant impact on any of their other metabolic processes. But the rats showed a decrease in LDL cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol.

"As a general rule, moderate consumption of red wine exerts beneficial effects for health. In our research, the beneficial effects of red wine can be extended to sherry wines," Guerrero says.

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

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