Just how fine is red wine?

During the last few years red wine has become the health drink du jour, found to prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, and even procure anti-aging effects. What more do you want from your glass of red? A recent study from the Imperial College London in England reveals that resveratrol, an antioxidant in grape skins, also helps to reduce inflammation and fluid accumulation in the lungs of people with ailments such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema but not asthma (Thorax, 2003, vol. 58, no. 11). Scientists believe that resveratrol, when present in concentrated levels, inhibits the production of cytokines, which cause lung inflammation. But researchers emphasize that you shouldn’t drink the beverage in lieu of adopting other important habits, such as quitting smoking and maintaining a good diet.

—S.T.