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Red Wine Linked to Reduction in Lung Cancer Risk

A study published in the October 2008 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention found that red wine may reduce the risk of lung cancer for men, especially among smokers.

For the study, researchers used data from the California Men's Health Study which included 84,000 men between the ages of 45 and 69.

Surveys were mailed to participants between 2000 and 2003 in order to obtain lifestyle and demographic characteristics of each individual. The participants were then monitored through 2006. During that time, 210 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed.

After adjusting for a number of variables like age, race/ethnicity, education, income, body mass index, and smoking history, the researchers found that moderate consumption of red wine was associated with a reduced incidence of lung cancer.

The effects of beer, white wine and liquor were also analyzed in this study but no significant decrease in lung cancer risk was observed.

According to the study, each glass of red wine consumed per month was associated with a 2 percent decrease in lung cancer risk. Smokers who drank one or two glasses of red wine a day saw the largest reduction and experienced a 60% decrease in lung cancer risk compared to non drinking smokers.

It is important to note that even with the 60% decrease, smokers who drank red wine still had a higher risk of developing lung cancer than non smokers.

Lead researcher Chun Chao, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, noted that the decreased risk of lung cancer was likely due to high levels of antioxidants in red wine.

Chao noted that red wine contains a powerful antioxidant derived from grape skins called resveratrol.Resveratrol has been linked to numerous health benefits. These include increasing energy levels, regulating blood glucose levels in diabetics, better brain health, improving metabolism, and improved liver function.

Red wine has also been associated with heart benefits but the researchers stressed that the cancer and heart disease fighting properties in red wine are by no means encouragements for heavy drinking. The potential health benefits of red wine are easily offset by the negative effects of heavy drinking, which is why most experts recommend no more than one glass a day.
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