An extremely popular drink preferred in European and Mediterranean kitchens, the red wine is a product found in many varieties, reflecting the diversity of soils, climates and cultures it comes from.
Subject of endless medical debates, the importance of red wine to health has been yet established: the consumption of 1 to 2 glasses daily reduces mortality by preventing coronary heart disease. However, in excess it leads to severe disease, as alcoholic beverages generally do.
The Health Benefits of Red Wine
Red Wine Contains Antioxidants
Wine contains antioxidants, especially resveratrol – which is found in grape seeds and skin. The importance of antioxidants is recognized by many – they fight free radicals and thus protect healthy cells against their attack.
High concentrations of resveratrol in red wine is due to the fermentation process – in which prolonged contact between grape juice, skin and pips finally induce high levels of antioxidants in the finished product. In principle, this explanation is the so-called "French Paradox". It was noted that the wine in French vineyards have a very high level of antioxidants, which help local people to be healthier than others.
In some parts of France where foods high in fat are consumed, for example, the incidence rate of heart attacks is much lower than in other areas of the globe – although the diet is similar. The reason for this is: the French always join a heavy meal with one glass of red wine. And white wine contains certain amounts of resveratrol, but in this case the skin and seeds are removed much earlier in the production process than in the case of red wine. Thus, antioxidant levels are much lower.
The prevention of cancer
Laboratory studies have highlighted the fact that resveratrol also has anti-carcinogenic properties. Its action has been observed in the following areas: minimizing the DNA mutations that causes cancer, killing diseased cells and blocking the creation of blood vessels around the tumor that nurture it. This antioxidant has and the ability to inhibit the spread of diseased cells in other areas (metastasis). Obviously, detailed studies are expected in this direction, but the initial results look very promising.
Resveratrol has a role in thinning the blood. It acts quickly, preventing platelets (cells involved in blood clotting) to glue to each other. Through this mechanism, resveratrol may prevent strokes.
Resveratrol is a phytoestrogens. There are certain plants that produce estrogen and that can play its role in the body, with similar effects. It is suggested that red wine may combat problems caused by lack of estrogen, like osteoporosis or premature menopause. However, these assumptions have not yet been proven. For those who do not like red wine, the good news is that resveratrol is also found in peanuts, blueberries and mace.
The unhealthy benefits of red wine
It is sad but true – women are more at risk than men due to alcohol. But the negative effects of wine are mainly related to the amount of alcohol you drink, not because of features of red wine, with one exception:
The headache caused by red wine
This pain is caused by tannin, the chemical responsible for the red color and for the strong taste of red wine. This chemical is found usually in grape skin – so it is much more rarely encountered in white wine.
Tannins can cause migraines for those who suffer from them usually something or can cause headaches even to those without such problems. But sensitivity to tannin varies from person to person. Other problems relate to the amount of alcohol present in red wine – may vary from 10% to 15%! The kick of the wine must be taken into consideration – that is why you should read the label.
The calories in alcohol
Situated among the smallest inconveniences caused by alcohol, calorie problems are still worth mentioning for those who watch their figure seriously. There is no point starve yourself, but barge into the wine cellar. An 8 ounce cup contains approximately 80 calories, so do not overlook this. The most appropriate in terms of silhouette is dry white wine because it is the poorest in protein and calories.
Large quantities of alcohol reduce the capacity of concentration and attention, slow down brain activity and block the reflexes. A nefarious contribution is present in all types of accidents, especially on the road. Interaction with drugs is known as a general rule; do not mix alcohol with drugs, whatever their type. The reason is simple: alcohol is metabolized in the liver and may interfere with drug substances in an unwanted action. The combination of sleeping pills and drinking is especially dangerous.
Serious health side effects of red wine
The health problems associated with alcohol consumption are tied primarily to the over use or to regular use. As I noted above, the risks are greater among women, even when talking about lower amounts of alcohol than men.
The adverse effects on health include:
– Liver damage (cirrhosis)
– The risk of various types of cancer: neck, liver, breast, esophagus
– High blood pressure
– Stomach ulcers
– Impaired heart muscle
– Acute and chronic pancreatitis
– High level of triglycerides (a type of fat that circulates in the blood)
Still, what is "drinking with measure"?
The advice to drink with measure is common sense. However, the amount of alcohol allowed differs between USA and Europe. In the first case, one glass per day for women and two men is the proposed limit, while in European countries women can drink between 2-3 cups a day and men 3-4. However, each person should set their own limits for drinking and in reasonable amounts without any risk to the health of the subject.