Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Health Benefits of Wine: I Can Toast to That!

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I (heart) wine. I love it so much that I make it a priority to surround myself with people who share my sentiments. I learned to appreciate a good red from my friend Claire, who knows her way around a bottle. Then there's my friend Marissa, who I'm convinced just moved to San Francisco to be closer to Napa Valley. While I don't live anywhere near Napa (or France, where I'd really like to be for that matter), I still appreciate a good wine when I drink one, and today I'd like to share some really fabulous news with you!

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You may know this already, but wine can be good for you! -  really, ALL alcohol can be good for you. Now before you buy a case, call all your friends and dust off the ol' beer pong table, let me touch on why it's good for you, while also explaining the one disclaimer that might put a damper on your impending house party. Let's look at our next guideline from Michael Pollan's book Food Rules...


Now this sounds like a rule that I can get behind. I like wine. I eat dinner. Done and done! Michael Pollan goes on to explain...

"There is now considerable scientific evidence for the health benefits of alcohol to go with a few centuries of traditional belief and anecdotal evidence. Mindful of the social and health effects of alcoholism, public health authorities are loath to recommend drinking, but the fact is that people who drink moderately and regularly live longer and suffer considerably less heart disease                 than teetotalers."

Studies have shown that wine can be beneficial when you drink it in moderation. Moderation is a funny word because it's obviously different to different people. Moderation for you might mean two glasses a night, while moderation for the average college student might mean ten. The term moderate refers to the suggested 2 glasses per day for men and 1 glass per day for women, but the good news is: you can indulge moderately every single day if you feel so inclined!

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Alcohol (of all kinds) raises your good, or HDL, cholesterol and helps to thin out your blood, thereby preventing build-up in your arterial walls. Then there's the phytochemicals in wine, which act as antioxidants and prevent the proliferation of cancer-causing free radicals in the body. Red wine is clearly the leader of the pack when it comes to health benefits, especially red wine from cooler climates. Red wine contains more of the phytochemical resveratrol. When making red wine specifically, winemakers allow the skin of the grape to stay on longer. The longer the skin is on, the more resveratrol there is in the end product. Resveratrol  works its magic by preventing blood clots and plaque formation in arteries, leaving you with a healthy heart. Malbec is a great example of a wine with high resveratrol content because the grapes used to make it have very thick skin. Other good choices are Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

Consuming wine during a meal seems to have its perks - other than avoiding that lightheaded, tipsy feeling you get when you drink on an empty stomach. When you drink during a meal, the compounds in wine help to  prevent the adverse effects of fatty foods during the digestion process. The two negative byproducts of fat digestion (malondialdehyde and hydroperoxide) - which are toxic to cells - are significantly reduced when wine is involved.

So the next time you're sitting down to dinner, don't feel guilty about pouring yourself a glass or two. When you drink in moderation, you can enjoy the life-saving perks!


  1. Drink red wine no more than two glasses a day can be act beneficial for health. It contains many substances that can help heart health, such as resveratrol, which has antioxidant properties to protect the blood vessels in the heart and prevent blood clotting.

  2. Great one! Thanks for sharing the details here.