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Showing posts from June, 2009

patriotic reasons to drink wine

In the spirit of Independence Day, we resume the countdown of 101 reasons to drink wine with an homage to the founding fathers.

50. Thomas Jefferson, who died at age 83 on July 4, 1826 (the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence) likely owed his longevity in part to his lifelong habit of moderate wine consumption. The average life was about half of Jefferson's long and productive span in those times. And there was no greater fan of wine in America.
"Good wine is a necessity of life for me."
--Thomas Jefferson

51. Benjamin Franklin was another lover of wine and the good life. Among his many useful observations he noted "Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance." I say a penny saved is a penny you can spend on wine. But reflecting on the miracle of turning water into wine, Franklin says it best:
"But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which desce…

Tax wine to pay for health care? Bad idea.

We are just about halfway through the countdown of 101 healthy reasons to drink wine, leading up to the publication of the second edition of Age Gets Better with Wine from the Wine Appreciation Guild August 17. So we pause to consider a topic of current importance, the debate in congress about health care reform and how to pay for it. One of the proposals being floated is the recurring theme of “sin taxes” which are erroneously interpreted as including wine along with all alcoholic beverages. The logic is that since alcohol contributes to health problems and is a discretionary expense, it should make a contribution to health care costs. This is exactly backwards.
Here’s why: Moderate drinkers (and that is most people), especially wine drinkers, actually have lower health care costs because they are healthier. You have seen a partial list of the many health benefits with this countdown, but the government’s own studies confirm it. A 2006 study of drinking habits in Medicare patients …

Age Gets Better with Wine: 5 more reasons

45. A study in rats, who were given either red wine or alcohol in the same percentage to drink over 6 weeks, found several changes in their fat cells compared to those drinking only water. Both the red wine and alcohol groups gained less weight than the nondrinkers despite equivalent overall calorie consumption. The wine drinkers had smaller fat cells, which is a good thing.
46. A wine-derived compound called quercetin improved liver and pancreas function in diabetic rats. Although resveratrol has received a lot of attention as an anti-diabetes therapy, this study showed how other wine polyphenols help too.
47. A form of quercetin called Q3 was tested for anti-flu viral activity and found to be more potent that oseltamivir (Tamiflu) according to a recent study from Korea. This provides further support to findings that wine drinkers have fewer colds and flu.
48. A study from Brazil evaluated the effect of wine polyphenols on a type of brain cancer called glioma. They found that resveratro…

4 more reasons: counting to 101

41. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal have found that moderate drinking releases endorphins, those molecules in the brain that make you feel good. Marathon runners get this sort of natural high by running "through the wall" but I'd prefer moderation in both my exercise routine and drinking. Heavy drinking cancels the effect.
42. Bone density. A number of studies point to a positive correlation between moderate drinking and preservation of bone density with aging. Although this seems to hold for all categories of drinking (beer vs. wine vs. spirits) to some degreee, the association is most positive for wine. This is especially true for postmenopausal women, who are at greater risk for osteoporosis.
43. A study from UCLA (my alma mater) found that moderate drinkers are at lower risk for disabilities of any type as they age, as compared to nondrinkers or heavy drinkers. This is another example of the J-shaped curve.
44. Why you should have red wine with meat: I lov…

alcohol helps prevent gallstones.

40. This one gets a post by itself because it is hot off the press: Alcohol helps prevent gallstones. This is another reason why the benefits of drinking, especially red wine, can't be put into a pill "with all the benefits of wine without the alcohol." Gallstones can lead to abdominal pain, surgery, even pancreatitis, which believe me you don't want. Just remember moderation is the key as always.

More healthy reasons to drink red wine ; counting to 101

Arthritis is an category that has some particularly interesting responses to wine drinking. As we continue to count up to 101 reasons to drink red wine, we start with:
37. Gout. This one surprised even me, since it has long been standard advice for gout victims to avoid rich foods and drinks. But a review from the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego found that wine drinkers actually have a lower incidence of gouty arthritis.
38. The inflammatory actions of arthritis are largely mediated through a chemical called Tumor Necrosis Factor. Resveratrol from wine is a potent neutralizer of TNF.
39. In two large Scandinavian studies, alcohol consumption coorelated with a decreasing risk for rheumatiod arthritis, as much as 40% lower in the heaviest drinkers.