So what’s all the fuss about? Is wine really good for you or is it some clever marketing gimmick that a wine brand manager thought up? No, not one bit. There is clear proven reasoning why wine, especially red wine, is good for you. Here’s a look at why –
In the beginning wine was used in very early times by healers and priests who used wine not only for healing but for religious purposes as well. Wine was considered safer to drink than water at the time and therefore right form the start wine has always been considered somewhat of an alternative medicine or a drink with mysterious health benefits.
Red wine, more than white wine is rich in a compound called phenolics (sometimes call polyphenolics).These phenolics are derived from the skin (dark skin gives red wine its colour), stalk etc of the grape. These particular compounds have anti oxidant properties.
One of the many phenolic compounds found in wine that has gained considerable attention is Resveratol which has potent anti oxidant properties. This is also found in green tea which is also known for being good for ones health; don’t take my word for it ask the Chinese.
Any alcohol in MODERATE amounts is widely believed to be good for ones health including spirits and beer. The word moderate here is key and most countries have issued guidelines on what moderate drinking should be in terms of standard drinks per day per person.
The health benefits of wine became widely known in 1991 when the American TV show 60 minutes did a programme discussing how people in France were indulging themselves in eating a diet rich in fat no less and drinking copious amounts of wine without any bad effects on their health in comparison to their American counterparts. This is now commonly known as the French Paradox. The answer they found was in their habit of drinking wine and also the method in which they consumed it i.e. with their meals. The show overnight changed the fortunes of many wineries and producers and world over sales of red wine went through the roof!
Similar studies in Italy have also shown that drinking with meals also reduces the risk of heart attacks and other heart diseases.
The biggest advantage of drinking wine is its effects on coronary heart disease. A moderate amount of alcohol improves the balance between the harmful and beneficial forms of cholesterol and helps in the thinning of blood. Wine has also been linked in its effects on reducing the risk of certain kinds of cancers but there is not enough research to substantiate this accurately. It can help people with respiratory problems however can trigger wheezing in asthmatics due to presence of sulfites. This is why you will find that most wine labels will mention “Contains Sulfites’. Wine has also been linked to prevention of loss of vision with age, lowering the risk of non insulin dependant diabetes.
For weight watchers dry wines have fewer calories than other spirits or beers, especially spirits that are consumed with mixers.
Nobody advocates drinking copious amounts of wine or any alcohol to get incremental health benefits, infact that will do serious harm. However, there is a feeling backed by proof that moderate drinking is better for you than heavy drinking quite obviously but also better than not drinking at all.
On that note, I wish you compliments of the season and urge you to try and drink sensibly…Cheers !
Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier and Director at All Things Nice – www.allthingnice.in