Friday, July 22, 2005

Zinfandel & cholesterol

This is an older link, but deserves more attention:
Zinfandel, cholesterol and sapponins

Speaking this week at the 226th meeting of the society, Andrew Waterhouse, professor of Oenology at the University of California, Davis said saponins could be just as important as the antioxidant resveratrol, a compound found in grapes linked to the so-called French Paradox — the association between red wine and decreased heart disease...

"Average dietary saponin intake has been estimated at 15 mg, while one glass of red [wine] has a total saponin concentration of about half that, making red wine a significant dietary source," said the researcher.

In general, Waterhouse found that red wine contains significantly higher saponin levels than white — about three to ten times as much. Among the red wines tested, red Zinfandel contained the highest levels. Syrah had the second highest, followed by Pinot noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, which had about the same amount. The white varieties tested, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay, contained much less.

Although Merlot was not analysed in this study, Waterhouse believes it contains significant amounts of saponins at levels comparable to the other red wines.

And best of all - some correllations between higher alcohol content and sapponin levels (so maybe all that extra "kick" isn't for naught):
The red Zinfandel tested, which contained the highest level of saponins among all the wines tested, also had the highest level of alcohol, at 16 per cent. "We think that alcohol may make the saponins more soluble in wine, but follow up studies are needed,"added Waterhouse.


Post a Comment

<< Home