Thursday, June 25, 2009

A glass a day keeps the doctor away?

Quite possibly.

Red wine contains a potent antioxidant called resveratrol. It is found in highest concentrations in the skin of the grape to protect the fruit from bacterial and fungal invaders. Resveratrol is also found in peanuts, blueberries, and cranberries, however the skin of the grape and long fermentation process of red wine produce the highest concentrations of resveratrol [1].

It was suggested by top Harvard biochemists that this antioxidant can extend life by activating the "longevity" gene (sirtuin), slowing the body's aging process and prolonging the development of chronic disease [2]. Research still in the works on those guys at Harvard...

Is red wine the ticket to eternal youth? I'm sure Dr. 90210 has something to say to the contrary. But, what does Mayo have to say?

Mayo Clinic supports the role of red wine in the reduction of LDL cholesterol (recall, this is the "bad" stuff), while protecting arterial walls of the heart. However, their stance on
resveratrol's role on this matter remains up for dibs. There are studies out there suggestion resveratrol as the ingredient to thank, and others suggesting red wine providing no increased benefit to that of spirits or beer. Hmm...

Research confirms the role of alcohol (not just red wine) in the diet to 1) raise HDL cholesterol (the "good" kind), 2) lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" kind), and 3) reduce the incidence of blood clots [1].

To keep things in perspective, research is performed on those with "moderate" alcohol consumption. "Moderate" consumption would be defined as 1 serving of alcohol a day for women, and 2 a day for men. Professionals
do not encourage the intiation of alcohol in the diet if one abstains. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, obesity, liver damage, increased risk of certain cancers, and accidents [1].

Additionally, resveratol studies have been performed on animals and the dose used to produce desired health benefits would require the consumption of 100 to 1,000 bottles of red wine to produce similar results. So, as you can imagine, resveratrol supplements were produced as to offer the public highly concentrated doses. Mayo Clinic stated in March 2009 that more research is needed to support the role and required dosing to confirm suspected health benefits of the antioxidant. But, they do state that the evidence looks good for red wine! [1]

What we know:

1. If you drink alcohol, consuming a "moderate" amoung each day may provide health benefits.
2. When you drink alcohol, red wine may be your best alternative health-wise.
3. If you don't drink, don't start for health reasons.

All good news here for this vino lover!

I suggest:
Ruffino Chianti (approx. $8-15/bottle)
Collazzi Chianti Classico ($20/bottle)
Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva ($16/bottle)

...Just for you, Mary! Salute!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the suggestions hun!! And for reiterating the fact that a glass a day keeps the doctor away! I'll take any advice that says I can keep drinking my vino (moderately of course ;) )