More health reasons to buy wine

The potential positive health effects of red wine are only just beginning to be understood, and it seems like you can rarely buy wine without hearing of a new possible benefit to your heart or immune system.

In recent days, not one, but two studies have been published describing positive effects from intake of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine that is being linked with broad-ranging benefits.

First, scientists at the University of Leicester found that metabolised resveratrol can still have positive effects, disproving previously held beliefs that, once the compound is converted into resveratrol sulfates in the body, it is no longer beneficial.

By breaking it back down into resveratrol - often at higher concentrations than was previously consumed - cells in the body can still access the compound's favourable effects.

And this has been linked with cancer-fighting properties, as resveratrol appears to be able to make cancer cells digest their own internal constituents, rather than continuing to divide uncontrollably.

Meanwhile, the University of Alberta is investigating the use of resveratrol in drugs for atrial fibrillation, a cardiac complaint in which the heart rate becomes erratic.

Both studies are still in their early days - as is understanding of resveratrol in general - but they make for interesting reading, and are a useful reminder that when you buy wine, there's more than meets the eye going on inside the bottle.