The news: First, we were told that drinking wine is good for your health. Then we were warned that it could be harmful. Now, some scientists say that wine is beneficial for the human body ... sort of.
A new Czech study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, has found that drinking wine can have positive cardiovascular effects — if you couple it with exercise.
"Our current study shows that the combination of moderate wine drinking plus regular exercise improves markers of atherosclerosis, suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease," lead researcher Milos Taborsky said at the congress, according to the Telegraph.
The study: The Czech researchers tracked 146 people at moderate risk of heart disease for a year, instructing them to drink either red or white wine in regular amounts, 300 milliliters for men and 200 milliliters for women (about two and one-and-a-third glasses of wine, respectively), up to five times a week.
While there wasn't an overall discernible increase in levels of "good" cholesterol among the study participants, there was one group that did see an improvement: People who exercised at least twice a week.
"The only positive and continuous result was in the subgroup of patients who took more exercise, which means regular exercise at least twice a week, plus the wine consumption," Taborsky said at the conference. "In this group HDL cholesterol increased and LDL and total cholesterol decreased in the red and white wine groups. There may be some synergy between the low dose of ethyl alcohol in wine and exercise which is protective against [cardiovascular disease]."
In other words, combining wine and exercise may somehow be some sort of magic bullet against heart disease.
But take the news with a grain of salt. While this study's findings are certainly promising, it won't be the last time scientists argue the harm or benefit of drinking wine. As this handy timeline from Bon Appetit illustrates, civilization has been arguing about wine for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and this study isn't going to settle the debate any time soon.
In any case, it certainly won't hurt to exercise regularly, whether or not you decide to enjoy a glass of wine with your dinner.