Grans tipple does her good

DON'T trifle with a sherry drinker.A tipple a day keeps the doctor away – and that's official.The next time grandma reaches for the sherry bottle, you know it will be for a good cause as research shows it does wonders for your health.

DON'T trifle with a sherry drinker.

A tipple a day keeps the doctor away – and that's official.

The next time grandma reaches for the sherry bottle, you know it will be for a good cause as research shows it does wonders for your health.

Scientists in Spain have discovered sherry may have the same health benefits of red wine, as it contains antioxidants that help control cholesterol levels.

Pensioners raised a glass to the findings when The Evening Star visited Age Concern Tea Rooms in the Town Hall, Ipswich, and showed sherry drinkers have plenty of bottle.

We offered customers a glass of medium dry and they all gave it the thumbs up.

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One even claimed it helps ward off old age.

Customer Janet Peck, 61, of Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, enjoyed the drink.

She told The Star: "I like sherry, but I prefer drinking red wine.

"It is a refreshing drink and it is a good drink for socialising. I drink it on special occasions, such as Christmas time.

"I always knew sherry had health benefits.

"I think if you are above the age of 55 it is good to have it in the house. More people would drink it if they felt it was for medicinal purposes."

Lesley Dowe, 59, of Lincoln Close, Ipswich, also enjoyed the drink.

She said: "I know they say about wine having benefits, but I did not realise it was the same for sherry. It is a very pleasant drink.

"My mum is 85 and sometimes has the odd glass. I haven't drunk it for a while but I would definitely have it again.

"I think it is an older person's drink, because younger people tend to go more for Alcopops because they have had more choice, either that or beer.

"Normally I have a bottle in the house because I put it in trifle."

Peggy Clark, 75, who has worked as a tea room volunteer for 12 years, said: "I am not surprised it has health benefits. I have read that before – just as long as you don't drink too much of it.

"Sherry keeps you young."

Tea room volunteer Pat Sullivan, 65, uses sherry in the kitchen at home.

"I like cooking with it. I have put it in cakes, some types of puddings and even in a meat casserole.

"If people have it before a meal it gives them a good appetite. It lifts their spirits.

"I don't drink a lot. If I do drink, it is mostly white wine. But I have always got sherry in the home because I cook with it.

"It is a social drink and you can offer it to anybody who comes to visit."

The study, conducted at the University of Seville, found polyphenols in sherry, like those in red wine, which reduce the occurrence of coronary artery disease.

These antioxidants work by preventing the oxidation of Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL), which are linked to the disease.

Drinking sherry also increased the body's production of LDL cholesterol, decreasing the risk of coronary artery disease.

The research, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, used rats to test the health benefits of sherry.

They were given a daily quantity of sherry equivalent to a 150ml serving for a human adult, while control rats were given either water or ethanol in water.

After two months the rats fed on sherry had less bad cholesterol and increased good HDL cholesterol.

Researcher Juan Guerrero said: "Sherry is widely consumed, especially in Spain and the UK, and we have shown that its moderate intake decreased total cholesterol and increased HDL-cholesterol.

"As a general rule, moderate consumption of red wine exerts beneficial effects for health.

"In our research, the beneficial effects of red wine can be extended to sherry wines."

nWhat do you think? Do you think sherry has health benefits? Do you know someone who lived to a ripe old age after drinking a glass of sherry a day? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

Sherry facts:

Christopher Columbus brought sherry on his voyage to the new world

Sherries can be drink as an aperitif or after dinner.

Dry sherries are usually drink chilled, sweet cherries at room temperature.

There are no vintage sherries and the quality is consistent year after year.

Sherries range in colour and sweetness.