Last updated at 1:16 AM on 01st July 2008
It is the perfect excuse to enjoy a glass of red wine with your Sunday roast.
Scientists have shown that the drink cancels out some harmful substances produced by the meat in the stomach.
The chemicals - released during the digestion of fat - are linked to a host of ills, including cancer, hardening of the arteries, diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
Red wine cancels out some harmful substances produced by meat in the stomach, scientists have shownIt is thought the stomach acts as a 'bioreactor' in which red wine's health benefits neutralise some of the dangers of the meat.
The Israeli research is far from the first to extol the health benefits of red wine, with previous studies crediting it with reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
But the study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was unusual in that it looked at the effect of wine in combination with a specific food. Researchers used two groups of rats, feeding one straight red meat, and the other meat impregnated with red wine extract.
Tests showed that adding wine greatly reduced the levels of two toxic chemicals released during the breakdown of fat, the scientists report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The benefits are thought to come from polyphenols - powerful antioxidants which prevent damage to the body's cells. Red wine is a particularly rich source of the compounds, which are also found in chocolate, olive oil and many fruits and vegetables.
Previous studies have shown that just half a glass of red wine a day can greatly reduce the risk of death from heart disease.