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Immune system boosted by red wine and blueberries

Published on 18/09/2013

Two compounds found in red wine and blueberries could improve the body’s ability to fight disease such as cancer, a new study suggests.

Blueberries have long been termed a 'superfood'

Scientists analysed 446 different chemical compounds with the immune system and discovered two which altered the immune system significantly.

The study was conducted by researchers at Oregon State University and led by Dr Adrian Gombart, the report was published in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal.

The two compounds highlighted in the study were resveratrol and pterostilbene which are found in red grapes and blueberries respectively. Both compounds were found to have a positive impact on the body’s immune system by working alongside vitamin D to improve the activity of the gene CAMP.

The CAMP gene, also known as human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, is an integral part of the body’s immune system and helps by boosting the body’s defences against disease.

Dr Adrian Gombart said: "Out of a study of hundreds of compounds, just these two popped right out. Their synergy with vitamin D to increase CAMP gene expression was significant and intriguing."

Red grapes, and more specifically red wine, have been linked to protecting the heart, reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol and preventing blood clots.

However no conclusive evidence has been found to prove these benefits.

Dr Emma Smith from Cancer Research UK cautioned that red wine should be drunk in moderation. In the past, resveratrol has been labelled as an anti-ageing compound which could extend life, prevent obesity and cure cancer

Dr Smith said: “Red wine only contains very small amounts of resveratrol and people shouldn't drink wine in an attempt to get any health benefits.

"It's important to remember that, even in moderate amounts, alcohol increases the risk of several cancers and has been estimated to cause around 12,500 cases of cancer a year in the UK."

The other compound, pterostilbene, which is found in blueberries also, has a past of being linked to having health benefits such as lowering cholesterol and improving heart health. Blueberries are termed as a ‘superfood’ due to their antioxidant capacities and numerous health benefits.

However, the study’s authors warned that research was carried out on isolated cells in a laboratory and it was too early to say whether similar results would be produced if these foods were added to one’s diet.

Health insurance can reward you by lowering your premiums for leading a healthy lifestyle, for example by eating fresh fruit and vegetables and drinking alcohol in moderation.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

Categories:  Health InsuranceHealthMedical
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