Recently I was asked to help someone choose a wine that would help them build up their blood because they had heard that it was necessary to drink a glass of wine for their health. This falls right in line with many comments I hear about using wine as an agent of good health. To assist me in answering some of the myth and fact concerning wine and health, I consulted Carl Raezstch, a friend who has two bachelors degrees (genetics and biochemistry) from Texas A and M and a masters degree in nutritional microbiology from the University of North Carolina. I guess that makes him an expert.
Moderate consumption of alcohol is said to be good for one’s health with red wine being the best. On the other hand (and I hate to have to say this but feel it necessary), it should be noted that excessive amounts do not do excessive amounts of good. One to three glasses of wine are considered to be moderate amounts on a daily basis. With moderate consumption of red wine, studies have shown an affect on several areas of one’s health: longevity, and a decrease in heart disease, cholesterol, and cancer.
The substance resveratrol is in the skin of grapes and is transfered to the wine during fermentation. Only red wines are fermented with the skins which causes the color to be red. When given to mice, it was found not only did they live longer, but they also were found to have a lower incidence of cancer.
The decrease of heart disease is said to be very difficult to ascertain in mice, however there is a cultural study that tends to support this. In France, where wine is a staple, there is little heart disease despite an average diet that is reportedly one of the worst. Add to that the excessive use of tobacco, and a ‘cardio-paradox’ is produced that can be one proof of the decrease of heart disease with moderate red wine consumption. Another study shows that red wine makes red platelets less adhesive to each other and to the walls of blood vessels. This effect usually lasts approximately two days, so the daily consumption red wine causes and extension of this effect lowering the chances of higher cholesterol.
It should be noted that the consumption of wine in any amount is not a magic potion. Just as vitamin tablets cannot be considered as good nutrition, there is nothing in wine that can replace proper diet and exercise in order to insure proper health. As always, it has been by contention that wine is to be enjoyed, so good health is just icing on the cake (diet?).
Cheers to your good health!