A glass of red wine a day could keep tumours at bay, according to a study of men with lung cancer.

A glass of red wine a day could keep tumours at bay, according to a study of men with lung cancer.

Research published in the medical journal Thorax today suggests that a person drinking a glass of red wine each day is 13 per cent less likely to contract lung cancer than those not drinking red wine.

But rosé wine makes no difference and white wine even seems to have the opposite effect, the study finds. Neither beer nor spirits seem to affect the development of cancer.

The researchers, from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, put the beneficial effects of red wine down to the presence of tannins, which have antioxidant properties. Resveratrol found in red wine has also been shown to stifle tumour development and growth in experimental research, they say.

Between 1999 and 2000, the researchers assessed the lifestyles of 132 patients with lung cancer and 187 patients requiring minor surgery at the same hospital in north-west Spain.

The patients, mostly men in their early sixties, were asked about their diet, smoking habits, occupation, and the type and quantity of alcohol they drank.

Both groups drank similar amounts of wine - around three-and-a-half glasses a day - but just over a third of the lung cancer patients drank red wine compared with more than half of the other patients.

Commenting on the research, Professor Andrew Peacock, of the British Thoracic Society, said: "We have known for a while that drinking a little red wine can protect against a number of conditions. However, it is not recommended that alcohol be used to protect the lungs, as drinking too much has an adverse effect on health.

"Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer so the best way to reduce your risk of developing the disease is to throw away the cigarettes."

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