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Is your favourite red wine really that good for you?

Red wine is being widely touted for its health benefits, but not all red wines may act the same according to researchers at the University of Hertfordshire.

Dr Richard Hoffman and his Erasmus student, Conny Johansson are using the University’s new chemistry laboratories to test a random selection of red wines to determine their levels of resveratrol.

Resveratrol is a natural antioxidant found in red wine and red grape skins, known to protect against a range of illnesses and diseases including neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's or other dementias, cancer and heart disease and more recently documented for its role in extending lifespan.

It is also found in peanuts and Dr Hoffman and his team are also currently examing their anti-cancer properties.

According to Dr Hoffman, although the health benefits of resveratrol found in red wine have been well documented, no one has systematically measured its levels in particular wines before.

“As a result, they assume that all red wines are the same, but this is certainly not the case as the levels of resveratrol vary.”

Dr Hoffman and Mr Johansson are using new state-of-the-art High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometery (LCMS) to separate and collect the compounds found in the wines.

They plan to be able recommend the healthiest bottle of wine among those they have tested. They also aim to work with wine suppliers and retailers so that they can persuade them to put health indicators on their products.

“The long-term aim is for people to be able to go along to the supermarket and to be able to know at a glance the levels of resveratrol contained in the wines they are choosing,” said Dr Hoffman.

Helene Murphy | alfa
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