It is most often said that excess consumption of alcohol is dangerous for health. In fact, in case of overconsumption, it may cause damage to the liver, lead to tumors and trigger neurological and cardiovascular diseases. However, it is also proven that moderate consumption of fresh wine can provide great health benefits. Among the many components of wine are substances called polyphenols that are characterized for their antioxidant properties. Polyphenols are molecules present in fruits such as grapes which are considered to be protective against many diseases. There are several classes of polyphenols, among which the best known are flavonoids and stilbenes.
Various studies have been conducted in recent years which have shown the beneficial effects of moderate consumption of fresh wine.
On Cardiovascular Disease
Heart diseases (including myocardial infarction, or heart attack) and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries by cholesterol plaque deposits) can be prevented by wine. It seems that flavonoids present in red wine exercise protective action against cardiovascular disease in drinkers who consume moderate amounts of wine with meals. Therefore, drinking a glass of red wine a day is highly recommended.
On Neurological Diseases
Studies conducted to demonstrate the effect of polyphenols on cerebrovascular diseases (such as stroke) indicate their beneficial effect. Moderate wine consumption also has beneficial effects in the prevention of cognitive impairment (dementia).
On Tumor Diseases
Resveratrol is able to inhibit the growth of tumor cells in breast cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia. A recent study has shown the protective role of consumption of one or two glasses of fresh wine a day against lung cancer in smokers. The risk of toxicity to the skin appears to be much lower, according to a recent study in cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment, if they consume one glass of wine a day. Specifically, the risk of significant skin toxicity in them is 75% lower than in nondrinkers.
On Other Diseases
Recent studies have also showcased some beneficial effects of polyphenols on various other disorders such as osteoporosis, cataracts and dental caries. It should be emphasized that these effects have been proven with restrained consumption of fresh wine (one or two glasses a day). It is said that 40 grams of alcohol a day (half liter) for men and 20 grams (1/4 liter) for women are amounts that the body can metabolize efficiently. However, the level of toxicity for alcohol depends on several factors: the age, body and health of the person, and also if he/she has consumed an alcoholic beverage with food.
Wine is extremely beneficial for the human body provided when it is not over-consumed. Our minds have been preconditioned to think that any alcoholic beverage is completely bad and people should religiously abstain from drinking. However, this is not true. An excess of anything is bad, and the same goes for wine. People who like drinking wine can take a lot of heart in the fact that is actually healthy to drink up to two glasses a day (125 cc each glass). As long as you drink responsibly, a glass of fresh wine a day will surely keep the doctor away.
Anthony Robert is a chef who also writes several interesting articles about food and wine. He has featured 2013 promised land shiraz , chardonnay and pinot gris on his blog.