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Not all that long ago I used to attend art exhibitions in Sydney, Australia. No, I'm not an artist but just a person who happened to live in the "trendier" parts of town. It was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon - browsing new paintings by up-and-coming local artists. More often than not they would offer the guests small portions of various cheeses along with a selection of moderately priced wines. I had a great time, but I didn't know that what I was doing was also giving me a health boost bonus! You see, wine and cheese are the Batman & Robin dynamic duo for lowering your blood pressure.

When was the last time you had a wine and cheese party? You don't need to be an artist to enjoy one; it's a great way to entertain guests and a good excuse to get together. It's also a nice way to ward-off high blood pressure.

Cheese & wine parties are excellent for larger get-togethers as well. You can make it lots of fun by having every guest bring a bottle of wine and an exotic cheese. It's a great way to sample new wines and cheeses ... and a perfect way to get to know your friends better with free-flowing wine and conversation.

What better way to kick-back and relax ... both you and your arteries. Wine is good for lowering your blood pressure ... and so is cheese. But not just any old wine, make it a red one. Read on to find out why.

~ A glass or two of red ~

The flavonol called resveratol is a protective antioxidant. Free radicals are agents that affect chemical reactions in the body; they can cause cell damage resulting in cancer and other problems such as high blood pressure. Resveratol as the protective antioxidant protects your arteries against the damage done by free radicals and also assists in preventing the hardening of your arteries.

Flavonol also benefits you in another important way. The clumping together of blood platelets causes blood clotting and thrombosis - not something you want to have to deal with as both can be deadly serious problems! Flavonol is active in stopping your platelets from bunching up together; a glass of red wine helps your body to prevent these nasty problems by keeping your blood smoothly flowing through your arteries.

And some more good news ... recent studies have shown that drinking red wine also helps to improve the operation of your artery linings. When the linings of your arteries are working properly they freely dilate bringing down your blood pressure. The only question is how much of the good red is too much?

Nobody is suggesting you go out and buy a crate of red to be consumed immediately, but a glass or two a day is ideal for most people ... this is the perfect consumption to keep your heart and arteries young - and maintain your blood pressure at healthy levels. Which red wine is best? The darker varieties are best as they are higher in the protective resveratrol flavonoid. As far as white wine is concerned, you really shouldn't bother ... it has much less benefit than the mighty red.

~ A Chunk of Cheese ~

When we think of cheese we tend to think of how much fat it contains, and whilst cheese does have more than enough saturated fat, a little is actually good for you. The key is, of course, moderation. Just like red wine, if you don't go overboard, it can be healthy. Too much of it and your cholesterol levels can rise.

When cheese is being made and the milk is fermenting ... peptides are released from the milk proteins. Peptides, which are related to proteins and amino acids, help to control your blood pressure by impeding the enzymes that convert angiotensin.
Angiotensin are made up of any of the three polypeptide hormones, one of which is a powerful vasoconstrictor (something that constricts a blood vessel). When the protein angiotensin gets converted to angiotensin II it constricts your arteries and increases the retention of water and sodium. This whole process has a rather adverse affect on your blood pressure - it pumps it right up!

You can stop the reaction that forces your blood pressure up by taking in the other peptides - those found in fermented milk products like cheese. Eating a small wedge of cheese blocks the enzyme that creates angiotensin II, helps your arteries to stay relaxed, and thereby keeps your blood pressure down.

~ Take it easy with a nice glass of Shiraz and a Slice of Gruyere ~

Having been at the grinding wheel all day ... when the tension built up during the day has pumped up your blood pressure ... why not enjoy some nice cheeses with a glass of dark red wine. Relax your mind, relax your body, relax your arteries ... get your blood pressure back to a normal level. It will be greatly appreciated by your heart!


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