The study, published in the journal Circulation, compared the effects of red wine and vodka on pigs with high cholesterol and found the pigs that drank pinot noir fared better than their vodka-swilling swine counterparts.
Dr. Frank Sellke, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam hospitals, and colleagues said the study involved three groups of swine that had been fed a high-fat diet. One group continued on the diet alone, the second was supplemented daily with red wine, and the third was supplemented daily with vodka. The wine and vodka was mixed with the pigs' food.
After seven weeks, it was determined the subjects that had been given wine or vodka had significantly increased blood flow to the heart, with red wine having the larger cardiovascular benefit.
In addition, high-density lipoprotein, or "good," cholesterol was significantly increased in the two alcohol-treated groups while total cholesterol levels were unaffected. HDL cholesterol transports low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol, to the liver, where it is metabolized, which might assist in preventing hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, and other cardiac issues, Sellke said.