A glass of wine a day could be good for diabetics’ hearts – particularly if they drink red.
In the first study of its kind, US and Israeli researchers tracked the health of 224 diabetics over two years and found wine drinkers experienced an increase in their ‘good’ cholesterol.
The patients – who all had type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity – were split into three groups depending on the drink they had with dinner each night.
One group had a small glass of red wine, another white wine and the third stuck to water. All the volunteers also had regular sessions with a dietician and followed a Mediterranean-style diet.
As well as experiencing a rise in good cholesterol – which is known as HDL and is thought to help keep the blood free from artery-clogging compounds – the wine drinkers also performed better in other blood tests, especially if they drank red, the European Congress on Obesity heard.
Professor Meir Stampfer, from Harvard Medical School, and his team believe the effect on cholesterol must be due to a non-alcoholic ingredient found in red wine but not in white.
He added that all of those studied had diabetes that was being kept stable by diet or drugs.
He recommends others get their diabetes under control before trying small amounts of alcohol.
The team said that ‘moderate’ intake of red wine ‘apparently decreases cardio-metabolic risk’ among type 2 diabetics – meaning it lowers their chances of heart disease or stroke.
It is not clear if non-diabetics would experience the same benefits.