A new study published in The American Journal of Medicine found that drinking a glass or two of red wine before smoking may prevent some of the harm caused by smoking cigarettes, in addition to red wine's well-known protection against cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from the University of Saarland in Germany found a possible way to counteract some of smoking’s short-term negative effects on blood vessels. They discovered that drinking red wine first prevented most of the vascular injury caused by cigarettes, possibly due to red wine's high phenol levels, according to a press release.

Study participants were 20 young, healthy nonsmokers who’d volunteered to smoke three cigarettes, and half of the subjects drank red wine one hour before smoking. Blood and urine were collected beforehand, and then again after subjects drank and smoked for 18 hours.

Drinking red wine before smoking prevented the body from releasing micro-particles from artery walls, platelets and white blood cells — which are known to indicate damage from smoking. Researchers also identified that a glass or two reduced inflammation and slowed down a genetic aging process in cells.

"However, sparse data exist on the short term potential vasoprotective effects of red wine in smoking-healthy individuals," said lead investigator Viktoria Schwarz, MD, according to Medical XPress. "The aim of our study was to investigate the acute vascular effects of red wine consumption prior to 'occasional lifestyle smoking' in healthy individuals. We found evidence that preconsumption of red wine prevented most of the vascular injury caused by smoking."

More research will have to be carried out to identify whether these findings apply to the elderly, the ill, or chronic smokers.

Source: Schwarz V, Bachelier K, Schirmer SH, Werner C, Laufs U, Böhm M. Red Wine Prevents the Acute Negative Vascular Effects of Smoking. The American Journal of Medicine. 2016.

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