The polyphenols in red wine have already been shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, but the latest research from Spain - one of Europe's largest wine producing nations - shows that it can also help fight the onset of prostate cancer.
In laboratory tests, scientists at Getafe University in Madrid discovered that the antioxidant polyphenols found in red wine were able to block the multiplication of cancer cells by tricking them into self destruction or apoptosis.
The Madrid-based researchers focused their efforts on five antioxidants found in red wine - gallic acid, tannic acid, morin, quercetin and rutin. They added varying amounts of the polyphenols to prostate cancer cells in a Petri dish. They discovered that all five compounds were able to generate apoptosis in the cancer cells after just 24 hours.
Writing in the June edition of BJU International, the Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons, the European Society of Paediatric Urology and the Societé Internationale d'Urologie, Dr I Romero and his team said that while their findings were based only on in vitro tests, they could help to explain why the incidence of prostate cancer in Mediterranean countries (with a high red wine intake) was lower than elsewhere in Europe or in the US.
"The Mediterranean diet is considered to be protective against the endocrine cancers (including prostate cancer), and features a low animal-fat and meat content, with a high intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, pasta and wine," Romero said.