It is widely accepted that red wine can improve your cardiovascular health. However, few people fully understand why it is so good for you and how to maximize the beverage's health benefits.

It is widely accepted that red wine can improve your cardiovascular health. However, few people fully understand why it is so good for you and how to maximize the beverage's health benefits.

"The Red Wine Diet" by Roger Corder, a professor of experimental therapeutics at William Harvey Research Institute in London, spells everything out, from the science behind wine's benefits to how to incorporate it properly into your diet.

The program is built on Mediterranean eating principles, where most lunches and dinners are accompanied by a glass of wine.

Corder says the key to wine's health benefits is a chemical compound called procyanidin, and the book offers a guide to which wines have the highest procyanidin levels.

It also provides sample menus filled with many Mediterranean-inspired, nutrient-rich foods, such as salmon, beans and arugula, as well as other procyanidin-rich foods, such as dark chocolate, apples and berries. The recipes, including a spicy chickpea and apricot pate, and monkfish kebabs with pomegranate salsa, read more like recipes from a gourmet cookbook than diet recipes.

But the focus of the red-wine diet is on improving your overall health and longevity rather than losing weight. The chapter devoted to moderation (sadly, drinking too much wine does more harm than good) quells delusions of living entirely on alcohol and dark chocolate.

It also isn't very practical to drink a glass of wine at your desk with lunch, but a glass or two with dinner is a great way to unwind and improve your general health.

— Special to amNewYork