Researchers have finally figured out why a moderate intake of red wine protects against heart disease, which explains the "French paradox" or why the French have a lower rate of heart disease despite indulging in a high level of fatty food.

The French love of red wine is thought to be the secret, as it is already known to have health benefits, but no one knew how it worked. Now Roger Corder and his team at the London School of Medicine and Dentistry have discovered that red wine puts stops the action of a key molecule involved in coronary heart disease called endothelin-1 (ET-1). ET-1 is a protein fragment made by the endothelial cells that line blood vessels. Normally, it maintains arteries and veins, helping to repair them if they get damaged. But too much ET-1 can cause a thickening of vessels and lead to coronary heart disease.

The researchers made extracts of red, white and ros

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