Wine With Dinner? Scientists Say Drink Up

September 6, 2013

Red Wine Poured

Having a glass of wine or an alcoholic drink doesn’t have to be bad for you. It can even improve your health. Such a comment immediately raises lots of questions, as we are constantly told that alcohol is a poison. So what is the truth?

Drinking alcohol is nothing new. It has been part of the human diet for centuries. The Bible refers to the medicinal properties of alcohol as do various ancient Egyptian papyri.

Wine played a major role in medicine until the early twentieth century. A glass of wine or an alcoholic drink can make you feel more relaxed, especially in social situations.

Research carried out by Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, led him to say that moderate drinking lowers the risk of heart disease.

“We think that a lot of the benefits of alcohol are on the blood vessels and on blockages in the arteries to the heart and to the brain. This might be related to alcohol’s effect on the good cholesterol, the HDL cholesterol.”

Mukamal added, “More recently we’ve done some work on moderate drinking and dementia. We looked at a group of older adults in the United States – average age was in the mid-70’s – and found a reduced risk.”

Man and woman in a hotel bar in the evening having glasses of re

Other research has indicated that moderate alcohol consumption improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin and may lower insulin levels. It may also help prevent strokes.

Studies in red wine consumption by French nutritionist Serge Renaud have indicated that moderate wine drinkers have lower mortality rates than teetotallers or heavy drinkers.

In 2013 researchers at the University of British Columbia explored the presence of stilbenoids in red wine. Stilbenoids are thought to be the molecules that give wine its health-enhancing benefits.

The researchers were surprised to find that red wine contains 41 distinct stilbenoid compounds, 23 of which had never been detected before.

The danger for alcoholics and recovering alcoholics remains unchanged, but it is becoming accepted that moderate drinking can be good for you. So what is moderate drinking?

Doctors say it is up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks for men. Pregnant women should avoid all alcohol.Ideally, alcohol should be taken with meals, as eating helps decrease high blood alcohol levels.

So you can feel free to have a glass of wine with dinner or relax with friends and enjoy a drink. But keep it moderate – do not over-indulge, as this will have a negative effect on your body. Drinking to excess even occasionally can increase the risk of heart disease.

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