The Italians have a saying that one barrel of wine can work more miracles than a church full of saints. And the Italians arguably have a longer running relationship with wine than any other modern culture. In fact both the Italians and French view wine as the water of life: it is deeply entrenched in the cultural psyches of both areas as a vehicle by which you achieve health and live a good, meaningful existence.
In today’s fast paced lifestyle, wine apparently helps address the big kahuna of problems in most people’s lives – which is of course stress. While it is true that alcohol in itself reduces emotional stress when consumed in moderation, wine adds an additional quality that is reflected in how it is enjoyed. More than 90 scientific reports have been published since 1991, providing strong evidence for the wine and health phenomenon. These findings clearly point out that moderate wine consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle. New research is beginning to uncover the presence of powerful antioxidants in red wine that are known to reduce blood clotting, reduce risk of heart attacks, and even help combat some forms of cancer.
This is all of course assuming that wine is consumed in moderation, defined as roughly a glass or two of wine every day. Wine also aids in digestion, stimulates the appetite and combats neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It has even been found to help combat both anorexia and obesity.
Research has determined that what distinguishes the health benefits of wine from other alcoholic beverages is the notable presence of tannins and isocyanine. The implication for women is particularly important, as a Harvard University study has found that a glass of red wine a day can reduce heart attacks for women by 25%. In addition, wine has been found to lessen and in some cases bring a stop to the degenerative effects of osteoporosis. A scientific team in Denmark was the first to uncover the remarkable phenomenon that, on average, the French have far lower cholesterol levels and fewer heart attacks than most other nations because of their moderate and daily consumption of red wine.
Research published in the specialist medical magazine ‘Thorax’ suggests that each daily glass of red wine gives 13 per cent protection against cancer when compared with non-drinkers. This new research suggests that red wine, in moderation, could also protect against lung cancer- one of the most common cancer types in Ireland. According to health expert June Russell when compared to beer or liquor drinkers, and even non-drinkers, those who happen to drink wine have lifestyles that are healthier. ‘Wine drinkers are thinner and have more normal weights, they exercise more, smoke less. Those individuals who drink wine also happen to be better adjusted, less neurotic and depressed, and have a higher I.Q,’ says Russell. These many lifestyle factors account for improved health and decrease the significance of wine consumption.
Some go so far as to say that making wine a part of your daily eating rituals can do as much for your health as a herbal remedy or a TV programme. On that note I am off to pour myself a generous glass of full bodied red wine…..