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Red Wine Benefits Improve Your Health
Every year there are numerous headlines about the health benefits of red wine. But can drinking it really make a difference? The good news is yes. Recent studies that there are many health benefits associated with moderate red wine consumption. Not only can consuming one to two glasses a day help protect us from heart disease, it also safeguards against many other ailments.
For many centuries, several cultures have found that wine is an important role in happiness and a healthy lifestyle. In the modern world, wine is accepted as a healthful drink, and in the United States are we are rediscovering its medicinal value and benefits.
The French Paradox
The French paradox was a term coined by Dr. Serge Renaud to describe the apparent unusual relationship where the French, especially those in the South of France, eat incredible amounts of artery clogging and heart-stopping saturated fats, smoke heavily, and exercise very little, yet their incidences of coronary heart disease are very low. Their daily and moderate consumption of red wine was given as the most likely factor for this phenomenon. His investigation into this paradox led to the conclusion that it was the French people’s consumption of red wine protecting their hearts from the saturated fats they consume. Renaud appeared on 60 Minutes in 1991 to outline the details of his French paradox theory and within weeks of this program airing, sales of red wine in the United States increased by 40 percent (about 2.5 million bottles).
The Healing Properties of Red Wine
Red wine is made from a fruit which is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which help to protect our bodies from free radicals. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers” and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Today, many studies have shown that red wine derives its health benefits from high levels of an antioxidant called “resveratrol” present in the seeds, skins and fermented grapes. Because of the long process and extensive fermentation of grapes in red wine production, high levels of resveratrol are found in bottled red wine. As defined, resveratrol is a type of polyphenol known as “phytoalexin” that is a group a compounds that plants use to defend themselves attacks such as undue stress, possible injuries, or UV radiation, and certain diseases such a fungus and infection.
The Health Benefits of Consuming Red Wine
- It is good for the heart – There are specific substances in wines like tannins and flavonoids which can increase the levels of good cholesterol or high density lipoproteins (HDL) in an individual’s blood. Wine’s antioxidants also lower the bad cholesterol or low density lipoproteins (LDL) therefore preventing an individual from developing various cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, and strokes. It also contains resveratrol which has an anti-clotting effect, lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack.
- It may help prevent menopause, breast cancer – and estrogen related conditions in the body because resveratrol is also a phytoestrogen, which mimics the estrogen in the body
- Helps prevent the development of certain neuro-degenerative diseases – Studies have shown that that the resveratrol present in wine can help prevent aging individuals from developing diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, that affect people as they age.
- It can help prevent food poisoning – Certain compounds in the wine help cleanse toxins from the body. It can also help an individual to avoid dysentery and diarrhea.
- Red wine can prevent and cure various gum diseases – Gum disease which is caused by inflamed tissue in the gums is a common affliction, especially among smokers. Individuals with gum disease are often advised to drink red wine because the polyphenols in it can lower the levels of free-radicals that cause infection and bacterial growth in the mouth.
- Consumption can help prevent certain cancers – Due to the antioxidant effect of resveratrol, experts believe that moderate and regular consumption may help possible cancer cells from multiplying
- It can prevent the development and progression of dementia – especially in older individuals.
While many Europeans would argue that many glasses or even of bottles of wine each day with dinner is moderate and healthy, many experts define moderate consumption as two glasses a day for men and one glass a day for women (due to differences in metabolism and weight). Over four glasses a day, Renaud warns wine has an adverse effect on death rates. Although it still protects the heart, excessive drinking increases the risk of cancer and liver and kidney disease. In moderate amounts, detoxifying small amount of alcohol is not a strain on these organs. However, once you exceed four glasses a day the liver and kidneys become overworked cleaning out your system.So where does all this leave us? Is red wine beneficial to our health?
The answer is certainly yes, but you must temper your enthusiasm for wine with responsibility. If you can drink moderately then you will benefit, if you cannot you may suffer the harmful effects of alcohol. In addition, wine is not a cure-all. Simply drinking wine is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet, regular exercise and not smoking. So drink to your health! But do so responsibly and moderately so that you may continue to enjoy great wine for many years to come!
by Michelle Pelletier of winestoragestore – quality wine racks and wine storage furniture.
The issue of wine and health is a topic of considerable discussion and research. Wine has a long history of use as an early form of medication, being recommended variously as a safe alternative to drinking water, an antiseptic for treating wounds and a digestive aid, as well as a cure for a wide range of ailments from lethargy and diarrhea to easing the pain of child birth.
Ancient Egyptian Papyri and Sumerian tablets dating back to 2200 BC detail the medicinal role of wine, making it the world’s oldest documented man-made medicine. Wine continued to play a major role in medicine until the late 19th and early 20th century, when changing opinions and medical research on alcohol and alcoholism cast doubt on the role of wine as part of a healthy lifestyle and diet.
In the late 20th and early 21st century, fueled in part by public interest in reports by the U.S. news broadcast 60 Minutes on the so-called “French Paradox”, the medical establishment began to re-evaluate the role of moderate wine consumption in health. Studies have since shown positive benefits of the phenolic compound resveratrol with continued research attempting to better understand its functions in wine and the body.
The 1990s and early 21st century saw a renewed interest in the health benefits of wine, ushered in by increasing research suggesting that moderate wine drinkers have lower mortality rates than heavy drinkers or teetotalers.In November 1991, the U.S. news program 60 Minutes aired a broadcast on the so-called “French Paradox”. Featuring the research work of Bordeaux scientist Serge Renaud, the broadcast dealt with the seemingly paradoxical relationship between the high fat/high dairy diets of French people and the low occurrence of cardiovascular disease among them. The broadcast drew parallels to the American and British diets which also contained high levels of fat and dairy but which featured high incidences of heart disease. One of the theories proposed by Renaud in the broadcast was that moderate consumption of red wine was a risk-reducing factor for the French and that wine could have more positive health benefits yet to be studied. Following the 60 Minutes broadcast, sales of red wine in the United States jumped 44% over previous years.
This changing view of wine can be seen in the evolution of the language used in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Dietary Guidelines. The 1990 edition of the guidelines contained the blanket statement that “wine has no net health benefit”. By 1995, the wording had been changed to allow moderate consumption with meals providing the individual had no other alcohol-related health risk. From a research perspective, scientists began differentiating alcohol consumption among the various classes of beverages – wine, beer and spirits. This distinction allowed studies to highlight the positive medical benefits of wine apart from the mere presence of alcohol. However wine drinkers tend to share similar lifestyle habitats – better diets, regular exercise, non-smoking – that may in themselves be a factor in the supposed positive health benefits compared to drinkers of beer and spirits or those who abstain completely.
Danish epidemiological studies suggest that a number of psychological health benefits come from drinking wine. In a study testing this idea, Mortensen et al. (2001) measured socioeconomic status, education, IQ, personality, psychiatric symptoms, and health related behaviors, which included alcohol consumption. The analysis was then broken down into groups of those who drank beer, those who drank wine, and then those who did and did not drink at all. The results showed that for both men and women drinking wine was related to higher parental social status, parental education and the social status of the subjects. When the subjects were given an IQ test, wine drinkers consistently scored higher IQs than their counterpart beer drinkers. The average difference of IQ between wine and beer drinkers was 18 points. In regards to psychological functioning, personality, and other health-related behaviors, the study found wine drinkers to operate at optimal levels while beer drinkers performed below optimal levels.