American actor Will Rogers (1879 – 1935) once jokingly commented on the ill effects of drinking wine by saying; “Wine had such ill effects on Noah’s health that it was all he could do to live 950 years. Show me a total abstainer that ever lived that long.”
Is there any truth behind his ironic statement?
We must not, however, confuse the reasons why people drink wine with the benefits of drinking wine. Alcohol, including wine, is being consumed by people for various reasons. It can be related to social, emotional, religious, physical and/or psychological factors.
Some common reasons why people drink wine, include:
Wine can be drunk as an alternative to say water, to quench one’s thirst.
Wine can be used before a meal to improve one’s appetite.
Drinking wine during a meal can enhance and complement the flavour of food.
Wine can be serve to make social gatherings more memorable, and
Wine can be enjoyed to help people unwind and produce a state of euphoria.
Let’s try and put the drinking of wine in a historical perspective. According to Satoshi Kanazawa; “human consumption of alcohol was unintentional, accidental, and haphazard until about 10,000 years ago. The intentional fermentation of fruits and grain to yield ethanol arose only recently in human history. The production of wine, which requires a large amount of grapes, could not have taken place before the advent of agriculture around 8,000 BC and the consequent agricultural surplus. Archeological evidence dates the production of wine to Mesopotamia at about 6,000 BC.”
Every year, numerous medical reports and headlines are being published about the health benefits of drinking wine in moderation. But is drinking wine really healthy? In short, the answer is yes!
Thanks to both its alcohol content and non-alcoholic plant derivatives, wine has been found to reduce both heart disease and some cancers. It can also slow down neurological degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. As more studies are being undertaken, wine’s list of benefits is getting more surprising by the day. New findings even dictate that wine taken in moderation can help with weight loss, reduce forgetfulness, boost your immunity and help prevent bone loss.
According to health practitioners the world over, the amount of wine you drink must be taken into account. By drinking more than the medical recommendation, the health benefits are lost and the risk to your health my even rise!
Here’s what’s considered safe and effective:
Men: 300 ml or two glasses of red or white wine per day.
Women: 150 ml or one glass of red or white wine per day.
Now that that is settled, let’s look at the Big 5 Reasons the Modern Health Conscience Consumer Should Drink Wine:
Benefit 1 : Longevity
Maybe Noah’s 950 years is a bit optimistic, but the compound resveratrol, found in red wine, has been shown to increase lifespan in animal studies. A recent Finnish study has shown a 34% lower mortality rate than those that partake of both wine and spirits.
Benefit 2 : A healthy heart
Red wine has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease drastically, thanks to the anti-oxidants, like
procyanidin, it contains. Creina Stockley, Australian Wine Research Institute manager of health and regulatory information, says; “People that drink a moderate amount of wine regularly, particularly with food, have a 30 per cent reduced risk of heart diseases.”
Benefit 3 : Reduce the risk of various cancers
Clinical pharmacologists have found that the phenolic compounds found in wine work by preventing the initiation, progression and growth of cancer cells in the human body. Studies show that moderate wine consumption reduces Lung Cancer by 13%, Prostate Cancer by 50%, Colon Cancer by 45% and has risk-reducing effects on instances of Breast Cancer.
Benefit 4 : Feed the mind
Wine can preserve your memory and therefore drinking wine in moderation does not necessarily spell killed brain cells. Researchers, doing studies on memory retention, found that respondents who drank one glass of wine every day scored much better than those who drank less or not at all. Wine may also reduce your risk of developing certain dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Benefit 5 : Helps with weight control
Research has found that people drinking wine daily and in moderation have lower body mass than those who drink on occasion only. Moderate wine drinkers have narrower waists and less abdominal fat than people who drink liquor. Alcohol may encourage your body to burn extra calories for as long as 90 minutes after you down a glass.
Now that we have a better understanding of all the health benefits of wine, lets further reward our bodies with some wholesome food!
As a perfect accompaniment to a chilled glass of white wine, and to enjoy as a light lunch, I chose this simple, yet deliciously healthy salad from the land of the “bean-eaters”.
Lets raise a glass to good health!