Hows this for a healthy resolution? Drink more wine |

Hows this for a healthy resolution? Drink more wine

Janice JonesFood & Wine

Most people make New Years resolutions, and the No. 1 resolution we make is to improve our health, be it losing weight or some dietary change we plan to practice. Wine, long considered a health elixir from ancient times, can be incorporated into a healthy style of life. Many studies have been published indicating that drinking a moderate amount of wine daily helps lower LDL cholesterol the bad cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol, HDL. Moderate drinking reduces the risk of ischemic stroke, the most common form of stroke. The antioxidant properties of the phenolic compounds in wine reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart attack. While excessive alcohol consumption can create high blood pressure in many people, moderate consumption seems to assist in lowering blood pressure. Studies have shown that sipping wine daily improves the memory capabilities and lowers the risk of developing Alzheimers. It certainly sounds like the perfect health elixir.

The most important fact from reading these various studies, and one I feel is common sense, is that moderation is the key factor. Drinking large amounts of alcohol will put a strain on your liver and may damage this vital organ. Alcohol consumption has also been proven to increase the chances of developing certain types of cancer, especially breast cancer in women. Too much alcohol will impair judgment, and too many lives have been lost in alcohol-related accidents. All alcoholic beverages in moderation show beneficial effects on our health. Wine, more specifically red wine, contains certain elements that have been identified in many medical studies as benefits to maintaining good health. What is it in wine that can create better health in those of us who enjoy wine on a daily basis?

The antioxidants in wine come from phenolic compounds found in grapes. These compounds create the color in grapes and the taste of tannins, the astringency and bitterness in the wine. They inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, preventing the formation of plaque on the inside of arteries. These compounds also increase the formation of HDL cholesterol. These antioxidants also have been found to prevent blood clot formations, which can lead to strokes. Red wine grapes also contain certain other compounds which are all health-promoting phenolic antioxidants. These compounds, according to research conducted at UC Berkeley, lower cigarette smoke toxicity, offer anti-carcinogenic effects, and enhance anticancer agents in the body. Of course drinking wine daily is not the sole promoter of good health. Exercise and a diet with lots of fruit, vegetables, grains and wine will certainly prove to benefit your longevity according to numerous scientific studies. These studies all state that consuming a moderate amount of alcohol daily is beneficial to maintaining good health. And because of the naturally occurring components of grapes, consuming wine has been proven to be of the most benefit. To prove this point, consider that the French, who, for the most part, enjoy wine with their meals, and consume 30 percent more dairy fat than we do, which is associated with heart disease. They are 66 percent less likely to develop heart disease than the British and Americans, who also tend to consume more beer and spirits than the French.

Drinking moderate amounts of any alcoholic beverage, along with eating correctly, has been proven in many studies as contributing to better overall health. The benefits from this consumption seem to prove that consuming beer is slightly healthier than consuming spirits, and consuming wine is healthier than consuming beer, when it comes to preventing heart disease. It seems that not only the healthy components of wine contribute to your overall benefits, but the general lifestyle of regular wine consumers tends to also contribute to overall good health. Studies have found that a majority of wine drinkers, 75 percent of us, consume wine at home and 80 percent of that consumption is with meals.Heres to your healthy New Years resolutions. Exercise, eat your veggies and grains, with a glass of your favorite red wine. Everyday.Janice Jones is a Truckee resident and wine consultant. Reach her at

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