Salud! A wine toast to your health
“Red, red wine, you make me feel so fine
You keep me rockin’ all of the time”
We would all love to say our drinks are good for us, right? But with wine, it’s actually true! Bursting with health benefits, wine provides so many pluses it’s impossible to list them all here. I’ve hit some of high notes for you, but pay attention, ALL of these studies are based on moderate drinking.
What’s that bizarre word, you say? While we all have our own definition of moderation (My friend: “Two glasses of wine, a shot of tequila, and a beer chaser is moderate!), the federal government’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans describe moderate drinking as one drink a day for women and two for men.
The bad news: That’s defined as a 5-ounce glass of 12 percent ABV wine. That presents a stifling conundrum for California wine drinkers, as most wines (particularly reds) rank above 12 percent and most restaurants pour at least 6 ounces. Depressing. Let’s get onto the fun stuff, where we learn about all of the fabulous reasons to drink vino.
Your life: According to a study in Finland, wine drinkers have up to a 34 percent lower mortality rate than other imbibers (of beer and spirits). Other research has found that certain compounds in grapes, called procyanidins, might be a factor in a longer life span, by keeping blood cells healthy. Does wine make us less stressed, more relaxed, and thus happier? According to hardworking friends of mine, red wine decompresses and makes you sleepy, so you snooze instead of stressing. No heart attacks!
Your memory: In a study from Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, a mainly vegetarian diet coupled with moderate wine consumption slowed down cognitive deterioration in Alzheimer’s patients. It’s also hoped that the plaque clogging the brains of patients might be cleared by polyphenols in wine.
Your kidneys: OK, drinkers, listen up. Numerous studies between 2007 and present have shown potential benefits of wine consumption on the ol’ beans. Researchers are finding that light to moderate drinkers have a reduced risk of kidney stones, chronic kidney disease and kidney cancer in comparison to nondrinkers. While scientists are unable to draw any definite conclusions, stay tuned with your wine glass at the ready.
Your gut: UK Studies have shown up to a 50 percent decrease in bowel tumors associated with colon cancer among those who consumer a moderate amount of wine. As the third most common cancer in men and women, and second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., this is a big one.
And ladies, your boobs: While it has been reported that most alcohol consumption can increase breast cancer, researchers have found that certain substances in red wine have anti-cancer properties. A study has shown that the chemicals in red grapes actually reduce levels of estrogen (where other alcohols increase it), thus lowering the risk for breast cancer.
Other potential benefits: preventing lung cancer, repairing damage in stroke victims, raising levels of omega-3 fatty acids, protection from prostate cancer, and preventing type 2 diabetes.
Word to the wise: In all above cases, do your homework, and talk to your physician. And remember the magic word: Moderation.
Here’s to your health. Cheers!
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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