What natural remedy tips can be attributed to red wine? In this instalment of this mini-series, I take a look at this popular beverage to see what it's good for and also maybe what it's not!
For centuries, if not millennia this has been the staple tipple and permanent meal accompaniment of the French, Italians and Spanish as well as probably every one else who lives around the Mediterranean Sea!
Red wine has been produced and drunk by kings, landed gentry and peasants and all have benefited from it's many relaxing and comforting properties.
Red wine comes in many varieties, but they all in differing degrees have one very important thing in common.
Apart from the alcohol, that is.
Red Wine: Good or Bad?
There are a number of health benefits associated with red wine that have been debated for some time, but it's worth putting these forward so you can make your own mind uo as to their validity or otherwise.
Many believe that drinking a glass of red wine each day makes up a valuable part of a diet said to be healthy, while there are others that believe wine as a health tonic is somewhat overrated.
There have been numerous studies that have shown that the moderate consumption of red wine appears to reduce the risk of contracting a number of diseases, including heart disease.
However, as we shall see, there is a fine line drawn between what could be considered moderate and excessive intake.
The French Paradox
The regular consumption of red wine is believed by some to be responsible for what has become known as the ″French paradox.″
The French tend to enjoy lower rates of heart disease than many other western societies, despite the fact they do consume more saturated fat and cholesterol. However, modern research shows that saturated fat is not the terrible thing it was once believed to be.
Some experts believed that the constituents of red wine somehow protected the French population from any harmful effects from their diet.
What is much more likely is that the French do eat more fresh, whole foods and live overall healthier lifestyles than a number of other westerners.
Pros of Drinking Red Wine
Red wine contains certain chemicals known as flavonoids and in particular ″resveratrol and proanthocyanidins″ which are known to reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes. More recently their properties have been discovered to prevent many cancers.
Better still, it has also been recently discovered that resveratrol has anti-aging properties.
Cons of Drinking Red Wine
The downside is that the resveratrol content of red wine tends to be a lot lower than people believe.
That means to get a decent level of this antioxidant into your body, it would mean consuming several bottles each day to reach the amount that has been used and found to be favourable in animal studies.
That doesn't mean that your should go out and buy a few case-loads to drink by the gallon. There is a lot to be said for taking anything in moderation, and red wine in certainly one of them.
The other problem is one that comes with all consumption of alcohol: liver damage.
The liver has a lot of work to do in getting rid of alcohol from the bloodstream and to make matters worse, alcohol is a liver toxin, meaning it causes damage in larger amounts or with repeated consumption.
While some experts believe that you can get the best of the healthy effects of red wine by drinking it at a rate of one glass per day, others believe that even that is too much alcohol if you want a healthy liver.
The ultimate choice is down to the individual, of course. You can side with the experts that say it's safe enough and good for health and enjoy a glass with your main meal of the day, where you really can toast you good health.
Or you can take heed of the advice of those experts that warn against the dangers of daily alcohol consumption, even at what many consider to be moderate levels.