The association between wine consumption and health has been the topic of scientific studies for many years. Researches as far back as the beginning of the 20th century have demonstrated that drinking wine in moderation* is connected with longevity and good health.
One of the explanations is that the effect of alcohol reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, the primary cause of mortality in the United States. This is how it works: wine consumption increases the production of HDL, decreases thrombosis, reduces fibrinogen , enhances fibrinolysis, and boosts blood flow. All good for the heart!
Of course, this is only a very simplistic guideline. You have also to consider the alcohol content of the wine (some German rieslings have only 8%, while some Californian Zinfandels go as high as 16.5%), if it is being drunk with food (you always should), the weight of the person, and general health conditions.
Red x White – There is more to wine than alcohol.
In general, health gains are obtained from red wines because the beneficial compounds* are found mostly in the grape skins and, for the vast majority, only red wine stays in contact long enough with the skins to extract a high concentration of phenolics.
*1)Polyphenols (procyanidins) seem to offer a high degree of protection to human blood-vessel cells. Someone once said: “you are as young as your blood vessels”.
The highest procyanidins levels are found in wines made from the Tannat grape. Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo are right behind.
*2)Resveratrol is an anti-oxidant present in red wines (also found in white wines, but in generally in less significant quantities) that displays a number health benefits, such as anti-cancer, antiviral, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory.
The obscure Muscadine grape that is planted mainly in the Southeast of the United States has over five times the amount of resveratrol contained in other grapes and is also an exception to the “red x white” rule because the high quantity of the compound is found in both red and white wines made from the grape.
Appreciating wine responsibly
Enjoying wine with regularity and moderation is an important factor for a healthy, joyful and long life. However, as with anything else in life, excesses can be harmful to yourself (health, social and financial problems) and to the people around you.
Alcohol can also impair a person’s ability to drive a vehicle or operate machinery. Please, don’t drive after you drink. www.duifoundation.org
*Moderate consumption of wine: studies show that the consumption of 3/4 of a bottle (750ml) of wine by an adult couple should be the maximum daily intake. As a general rule the man should have two glasses while the woman should have only one (considering that a bottle contains four 175ml glasses).