Monday, July 27, 2009

wine and women

Someone famously once said "Who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long." So in our count of 101 healthy reasons to drink wine, leading up to the release of the second edition of Age Gets Better with Wine, we turn our attention to wine and women.
66. According to a recent study from the University of Florence, Italy, women who drink wine have better sexual health than nondrinkers or mixed beverage drinkers. Using a study tool known as the Female Sexual Function Index, they studied more than 700 women from Tuscany. (Women consuming more than 2 glasses a day were excluded due to the possible confounding effect of alcohol on libido.) Women who drank wine had the highest overall scores on this comprehensive test of sexual health. No surprise there if you ask me, but these things have to be proven I suppose.
67. Postmenopausal women who have a high flavonoid intake (these are the polyphenol compounds from red wine and some vegetables) have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. While this may seem obvious, given all that is known about heart health and wine, the problem had not been previously addressed specifically for postmenopausal women in much detail.
68. Some wine-derived compounds have estrogen-like properties. (Plant-derived chemicals with estrogenic effects are called phytoestrogens, a familiar one being soy.) The trick is to mimic the favorable actions of estrogen in post-menopausal women (lower osteoporosis, heart disease, healthier skin, etc) while minimizing the adverse effects (possible increased risk of breast cancer.) Such compounds are called selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMS. One recent study found that wine-derived phyoestrogens activated longevity genes. The fact that estrogens have this capability may explain why women live longer than men on average.

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