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Raise your glass to a healthier heart

Great news for those who like to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner: There may be another reason to break out the corkscrew.

Red wine has long been thought of as heart-healthy due to it's alcoholic antioxidant properties… but a new Italian study suggests that some of wine's non-alcoholic ingredients may also be good for your ticker.

Dr. David Frid of the Cleveland Clinic says, "Wine may benefit in the way of increasing something called nitrous oxide. And nitrous oxide is important in that it causes blood vessels to relax, which allows for better blood flow."

And better blood flow means better cardiovascular health. The study examined five wines and found that all of them increased nitrous oxide (ny-tres ox-side) production. This chemical compound may help lower your risk of blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure.

Researchers say a moderate intake of wine may help protect your heart, an opinion Dr. Frid shares.

"One, maybe two drinks a day, at the most. If you start to get much above that you really actually can start having a negative effect. Alcohol in higher doses can do damage to the muscle in the heart," says Dr. Frid.

The American Heart Association agrees, and does not advise drinking more than this recommended amount, since the possible risks may outweigh the benefits.

So toast to your health, but remember moderation is key to get the most vitality out of your vino.

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