use their colored background   a tan color

           Doctors have believed for years that alcohol, particularly the alcohol
           in red wine, reduces the risk of heart disease. They theorize that
           alcohol affects the platelets, the blood cells that help us stop bleeding
           when we are cut and, because they cling to fatty deposits on artery
           walls, can block the arteries and cause heart attacks. Wine taken with
           meals, some scientists believe, helps remove platelets from artery
           walls before they can form destructive clots.

           Another role wine may play in the prevention of heart disease
           concerns "good" cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
           Researchers at such institutions as Harvard's School of Public Health
           have demonstrated that alcohol can increase the blood's level of HDL,
           which -- unlike its evil cousin, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) --
           carries away cholesterol before it adheres to artery walls. The
           Harvard study showed that consuming two alcoholic drinks a day for
           six weeks increased HDL levels by 17 percent. That translates into a
           40 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease.

           Scientists at the University of California at Davis were among those
           who looked at wine's nonalcoholic components and the role they might
           play in explaining the French Paradox. They found that three organic
           acids, or phenols, that are found in the seeds and skins of grapes not
           only help give red wines their flavors and aromas but also aid in
           preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries. When these phenols
           are absorbed into the bloodstream, they act as antioxidants, preventing
           LDL from being converted into an artery clogger.

           While moderate wine consumption may explain part of the French
           Paradox, it isn't the whole story. And it's important to remember that
           the benefits apply only to moderate wine consumption. Designated
           drivers and those people whose doctors have recommended that they
           not consume alcoholic beverages are better served with a
           nonalcoholic toast.



                                                       Thursday, May. 20

          On Valentine's Day, toast
          your sweetheart -- and your
          good health -- with a glass
          of wine and any one of these
          candlelight dinners for two.


          Several years ago, Americans
          became intrigued by the
          relationship between red wine and
          cardiovascular health. We had
          heard that the French -- despite
          reports that they smoke more and
          exercise less than we do as a
          nation -- run a 40 percent lower
          risk of developing heart disease
          than we do.

          How could people with an
          appetite for such high-fat foods as
          pâté de foie gras, triple-crème
          cheeses, and béarnaise sauce
          manage to protect their hearts from

          Researchers suspected that wine
          -- a beverage consumed in greater
          quantities per capita in France
          than in northern Europe, the United
          States, and Japan -- might
          somehow explain the apparent
          contradiction, which has come to
          be known as the French Paradox.

          This month, though, we celebrate
          the fact that something as
          enjoyable as a glass of wine with
          dinner may actually be good for
          you. In that spirit, we have created
          five entrées to help you prepare a
          special Valentine's Day dinner to
          share with your sweetheart and
          we've paired each dish with one
          of our favorite red wines.

          Here's to your health! Or, as the
          French say, à votre santé!