|Food 99/1: Does a glass of wine a day keep the doctor away?|
|Tuesday, 19 April 2011 11:28|
Does a glass of wine, instead of an apple, a day keep the doctor away? Wine and your health is a very controversial topic among many. Historically speaking, wine has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Ancient cultures of China, Greece, Egypt and Rome, for example, have left evidence that wine was used for healing, health and disease prevention. The lack of clean drinking water in many ancient (and not so ancient) cultures may have been a major reason why doctors relied on wine. Famous Greek physician Hippocrates recommended wine for ailments from pain during childbirth to disinfecting and sterilizing wounds.
Before discussing the benefits of drinking wine, defining consumption in moderation is imperative. It is universally accepted that moderation is a maximum of four standard drinks per day for a male and two for a female (a standard drink for wine is a four ounce glass). Women are allotted half the amount of men because they have only half the amount of alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme that breaks down alcohol. (There are also people who should avoid wine or alcohol; those who have had addiction problems, those who react badly to it or have liver disease, for example. I am by no means suggesting wine will help everybody’s health… so if in doubt, always check with your doctor.)
Moderate consumption of wine has been proven to be “heart healthy” because of the antioxidants that come from the grapes. Wine has been proven to reduce vascular disease (due to greatly improved blood flow), reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, reduce colds, reduce gallstones, reduce kidney stones, reduce Alzheimer’s disease, reduce Parkinson’s disease, cancer and diabetes and improve digestion, help alleviate stress and depression. Studies have shown that dementia later in life is reduced by moderate consumption of wine and actually helps increase long-term memory.
In the early 1990s, there was a spotlight on the TV show “60 Minutes”, outlining a French essay and coining the phrase “French Paradox”. This paradox states the observation that although the people of France (particularly southern France) consume a diet high in saturated fats from animals, butter and cheese and have a higher rate of smoking cigarettes, the prevalence of heart disease and lower overall health is lower than anywhere else in the world. This greater level of health and well-being has been attributed to their responsible and moderate consumption of wine- wine drinkers lead healthier, happier lives.
During the spotlight on “60 Minutes”, it was red wine described as producing these health benefits and following that, red wine sales in North America went up roughly 45%. This study led the wine consuming public into thinking that it was only red wine that had antioxidants and consequent health benefits. However, since then there have been a lot of studies and research that provide evidence of both red and white wine having health benefits. While red wine has more antioxidants due to its grapes being a darker colour than white wine grapes (leafy greens that are dark or vegetables that are brighter are said to have more antioxidants than their lighter counterparts too), the antioxidant molecules in white wine are said to be smaller and more easily absorbed into the body thereby creating an equality.
The question has been asked that if the antioxidants and other health advantages come from the grapes themselves, does drinking grape juice reap the same health benefits? The answer is the properties of grapes help your health by providing some antioxidants, but the combination of the alcohol and the healthy grapes has been said to provide more health benefits than grape juice itself.
That being said, wine consumption or “wine therapy” on its own is not effective at making you healthy or healthier. In conjunction with eating properly, reducing sugar intake, exercising, watching your blood pressure and weight and not smoking, a relaxing glass or two of wine a day can do nothing but make you feel better from your head to your toes. So, go on, grab a glass and cheers to your health!
And as always if you have any other wine or food questions drop by our website at www.ninetynineone.com and drop us a line in the Q&A section of the site. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have.
Cheers and happy quaffing.
99/1 Food Service Management in Freeport is owned and run by Tim and Rebecca Tibbitts. 99/1 is a full service catering business serving scrumptious offerings with top quality ingredients. 99/1 also specializes in cooking classes, guided wine tastings & tutorials, drop off dinners & in home catering. www.ninetynineone.com 553-2426
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