Sherry — Shown to have Health Benefits

New research published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture suggests that sherry may have the same health benefits as red wine. Sherry contains antioxidants that help control cholesterol levels, say Spanish scientists.

Studies by researchers at University of Seville have shown that sherry, like red wine, contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which reduce the occurrence of coronary artery disease. They work by preventing the oxidation of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL), which is associated with the disease.

Drinking sherry can also increase the body’s production of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is associated with longevity and a decreased incidence of coronary artery disease.

‘Sherry is widely consumed, especially in Spain and the UK, and we have shown that its moderate intake decreased total cholesterol and increased HDL-cholesterol,’ says Juan M. Guerrero, researcher on the paper.

To test the effects, rats were given daily quantities of sherry equivalent of a 150ml serving in an adult weighing 70kg. Control rats were given the same amount of either water or ethanol in water. Intake of sherry every day at 16:00 over two months did not affect the weight of the rats or have any other significant impact on other metabolic processes – but it did result in the decrease in serum total (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol.

Four of the most commonly produced sherries in Andalucia, Spain, bearing the generic names Oloroso, Manzanilla, Fino and Amontillado, were tested. All four types had the same effect.

‘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 extensive to sherry wines,’ says Guerrero.

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