Red wine is fine, maybe
Over the last several years there has been an abundance of evidence that drinking a little bit of red wine can actually have several possible health benefits. So let’s all break out that cork screw and grab our glasses and let’s drink up. Well let’s take a closer look first.
A team of researchers from several Spanish universities reported in “BMC Medicine” that drinking wine may reduce the risk of depression. Their research was fairly extensive involving 2683 men and 2822 women ages 55 to 80. The research period was seven years.
Basically what the researchers did was have the participants complete a food frequency questionnaire every year. The questionnaire asked about the details of the participant’s alcohol consumption as well as their mental health. What they determined was that amongst the participants, both male and female, those who drank between two to seven glasses of wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. The researchers then took steps to evaluate other lifestyle factors that could affect a diagnosis of depression and their conclusion that moderate consumption of wine indeed does lower the risk of depression remained valid.
In another study from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom a group of scientists reported that their studies showed that regular moderate consumption of red wine can reduce the rate of bowel tumors by 50 percent. This they believe is because of the resveratrol abundant in red wine.
Even the highly regarded Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles supports the idea that moderate regular consumption of red wine has the ability to actually lower the risk of breast cancer even though it is well known that most alcoholic drinks increase the risk of breast cancer.
In yet another study a research team from the Loyola University Medical Center concluded that the moderate consumption of wine can reduce the risk of developing dementia. They looked at data on red wine consumption going back to 1977, spanning 19 nations and found a significantly lower risk of dementia amongst moderate red wine drinkers in 14 of the 19 nations causing me to wonder why it wasn’t 19 out of 19 nations, but that goes a bit beyond the purpose of this article.
The simple point is that there is abundant evidence that moderate consumption of red wine has several health benefits discussed above and also others including colon cancer prevention, anti-aging and others owing to a large extent to the significant amount of resveratrol found in the red grapes and thus in the red wine. But do keep in mind that several fruits also have substantial levels of resveratrol but without the alcohol.
Red grapes, blueberries, cranberries and even nuts all have significant levels of resveratrol. So there is a very strong case for the benefits of moderate consumption of red wine, the key question is what exactly is moderate consumption?
Most folks have a basic understanding of some of the terrible problems associated with excessive consumption alcohol. Those problems can range from cirrhosis of the liver, to increased cancer risk and social legal problems such as drunk driving with all of the pain and ugliness that can bring. So fully understanding what is truly moderate is a critical element in the discussion of red wine consumption.
From all of the evidence I could gather the basic line is drawn at not more than two glasses a day and each glass should contain no more than three fluid ounces of wine. So those who may be committed to self-deception and figure that two 16-ounce beer steins filled with red wine comply with the two glass rule are clearly wrong.
Beyond just that it is important to note that there are differences depending upon age, gender, size and individual tolerance levels determined by race and genetics. But even with all of those factors I believe it is reasonable to submit that for the vast majority of people the daily consumption of not more than two glasses each containing not more than three fluid ounces of red wine daily will actually provide far more benefit than detriment.
If you happen to be one of those rare people with an extremely low alcohol tolerance level you should almost certainly simply avoid the red wine and grab some red grapes or blueberries instead. For everyone else, cheers!
On a personal note I really love Ancient Peaks, Cabernet Sauvignon generally available at around $15 a bottle. And no they did not pay me to say that. Better health and simply delicious, what could possibly be better?
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Copyright © 2016 Ron Irwin
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Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.