What makes wine so good for you?
Have you ever heard that “wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”?
No, that’s not something I made up to justify my passion for wine and my regular (though moderate) consumption. It was actually the French chemist and microbiologist Luis Pasteur to state this!
Indeed the effects of wine on health have been a source of great debate for centuries. Ancient people used it as a pain reliever and disinfectant and its beneficial effects are even quoted in the Bible.
More recently scientists have focused their attention on certain antioxidants, including the `famous` Resveratrol (see CNN 90 minutes about The French Paradox), that would play a positive effect on the body. In particular red wine, through these compounds, is able to exert beneficial actions not only to the reduction of cardiovascular risk, but also to the improvement of the lipid profile, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and the level of HDL cholesterol (the good one).
The ethanol present in wine, seems to be related to an effect on the coronary dilator and thus to a reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Polyphenols are also particularly important, as they have the ability to remove free radicals from our body, responsible for cellular aging and perhaps the onset of some cancers.
Last but not least, the antibacterial properties of red wine would improve our digestive capacity.
So, the well-known saying “wine makes good blood” has a grain of truth but moderation and consciousness are key. And that’s where the subject becomes controversial: drinking a glass or two of wine a day, in general, may improve your health but the abuse of alcohol, as demonstrated by many studies, is associated with an increase in blood pressure. Plus, raising too often your consumption to more than two glasses a day may produce a strain of the liver significantly greater than the cardiac benefits (especially since cholesterol can be controlled effectively by other – less pleasant, though more effective – methods). Calories should not be forgotten either. Wine has a certain amount of calories that should be counted in our daily diet.
Beside this, it is quite interesting to understand that not only moderation is important but also regular drinking. It is proved that a regular daily wine consumption is much healthier for your body, and more specifically for your liver, than a binge drinking at weekends due to substances that the liver produce that can help it in alcohol metabolism.
In conclusion, your couple of glasses a day are part of a healthy diet; but if you want to drink more, then, it should really be for a special occasion…or a very special wine!