Red wine is good for us, or at least that’s what we tell ourselves after scanning articles which boast its health benefits. This fuzzy knowledge of the scientific facts, allows us to indulge without guilt. “Red wine has health benefits”, we whisper to ourselves, therefore I can have my third glass, safe in the understanding its good for me, or is it?
Do we really know the facts when it comes to the health benefits of red wine?
The answer is often mumbled incoherently, “yeah, red wine is good for you heart…. blah, blah, blah”. One of the most famous papers to date was written by Professor Mukamal, MD, MPH from Harvard Medical School. Mukamal observed lifestyle and dietary influences in men and women in their fifties, focusing particularly on red wine consumption. A rough summary of this report suggests that men who drink a maximum of two glasses of red wine (5 ounces per glass), with their evening meal were 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease. W omen who drink one glass of red per night are 23% less likely to have heart disease.
Are other influencers affecting the scientific benefits of red wine?
A Mediterranean diet is crammed with fruit, vegetables and olive oil, all rich in polyphenols (most notably Resveratrol). The antioxidant properties of polyphenols protect the body’s tissues, forming barriers against cancers, disease, and inflammation. Resveratrol has shown preventive effects against high calorie diets in laboratory mice, slowing weight gain. It is possible that the health statistics of red wine have been influenced by certain diets.
Antioxidants are plentiful in the skin of red grapes and red berried fruits
Grapes like Malbec or Pinot Noir, grown in the cooler climates of France, have a higher density of resveratrol, which may explain the famous terminology, “French Paradox.” This irony refers to the traditional high-fat French diet, accompanied by L’Art de Vivre (the art of living with a glass of red in your hand). Emphasizing this fact, the French have the lowest heart disease rates in the western world, though this may be changing with the introduction of fast/convenience food, which is altering the traditional French diet. With all the scientific health research behind red wine, scientists are vague on the exact facts. Using words like ‘may’ or ‘suggests’ does not fully support the scientific research.
QQC can help reap the benefits of red wine
- Quality: choose a wine from small producers, who use fewer pesticides, like a French biodynamic or organic red wine.
- Quantity: ditch the weekend binge drinking, which can higher the risk of cancer, in favor of a small glass (or 2) of quality red with your evening meal.
- Common Sense: too much of a good thing, becomes bad, so eat fruit and vegetables and have an active lifestyle.
Next time you justify downing more than a few glasses, don’t use health benefits and science as an excuse to drink more. Use common sense to drink just the right amount and raise a glass for good health.
For more tips on overall health improvement, check out GetThrive.com!
Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D.
Organic and Biodynamic wine