Doctors are always wary about encouraging people to drink because, when alcohol is abused, it can have numerous harmful effects on one's body.
So when a group of doctors actually give the green light to the moderate consumption of wine, it's a big deal.
And so it was when doctors at the world-famous Mayo Clinic acknowledged that there is something in wine - specifically, red wine - that seems to be good for one's heart health.
Identifying that certain something with precision has been challenging. That's because there could well be two beneficial health factors in play:
1. Antioxidants. Both flavonoids and nonflavonoids seem to offer benefits.
Flavonoids are found in a variety of foods, including grape juice, apples, tea, cocoa and oranges. But in red wine, they are more prevalent.
Nonflavonoids also are found in red wine, and caught the collective eye of the Mayo Clinic physicians because they seem to help prevent fatty blockages from clogging arteries.
2. Resveratrol. This is a nonflavonoid in red wine that seems to offer the greatest benefit in helping to reduce "bad" cholesterol and prevent blood clots. Critics point out that resveratrol studies to date have involved only mice and dosages that would equate with about 100 bottles of wine for a human.
Still, the doctors believe that investing in additional study is definitely worthwhile, and many now recommend a glass of red wine per day - considered a moderate amount - for most healthy people.
To learn more about the various health studies that have been undertaken, visit MayoClinic.com.