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The Health Benefits of Wine in Moderation

It comes as music to the ears of wine lovers everywhere to learn that, in moderation, wine can be good for you! Of course, drinking wine can be very enjoyable, and as well as reducing stress, links between moderate wine consumption and reduced risk of particular diseases and conditions are growing in number.

Too much stress…

In Australia and other parts of the western world, stress is a huge problem that is growing in magnitude. Stress is understood to negatively contribute to a range of chronic illnesses and health problems such as insomnia, headaches and mental illness — predominantly depression and anxiety, backaches and relationship breakdowns. Although wine or any other type of alcohol is certainly not a solution to the factors that cause stress, the consumption of wine in moderation can bring stress-reducing benefits.

Wine the ideal component of a quality gift basket…

For this reason, it is no surprise that wine is enjoyed socially and as a complement to particular foods. Wine also makes a great present, and together with other quality products is a perfect inclusion in gift baskets and Christmas hampers.

What types of health benefits are associated with drinking wine in moderation?

In the developed world, cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death. This is a chronic disease of widespread concern but many scientific studies are suggesting that consumption of alcohol (including wine) can reduce rates of death from coronary heart disease and some other diseases by up to 30 per cent in middle-aged people. Men aged over 40 years and post-menopausal women are two groups shown to enjoy particular benefits from the moderate consumption of alcohol.

At Chicago’s Loyola University, researchers have discovered a possible link between wine and dementia. Their findings suggest moderate consumption of alcohol (and wine in particular) may reduce a person’s risk of dementia.

A different study in the United States has shown that drinking red wine in moderation may be beneficial in reducing breast cancer risk. As breast cancer is one of the most significant and prevalent types of cancers affecting women in the US (and also in Australia), this is a promising finding.

How does moderate wine consumption benefit health?

Alcohol is believed to offer cardio-protective effects because it causes a favourable change in the balance of fats in the human body. Very simply put, this means alcohol consumed in moderation encourages the production of ‘good’ cholesterol and assists with the removal of ‘bad’ cholesterol from the arteries and veins, in which it can form plaque.

Moderate consumption of alcohol can also reduce the risk of thrombosis, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Thrombosis results when red blood cells clot together and this clot blocks the flow of blood in an artery. Essentially, moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the ‘stickiness’ of the blood and thereby the likelihood of dangerous clots forming and depositing themselves in arteries.

The anti-inflammatory effects of alcohol can so significantly benefit blood vessels that the development of atherosclerosis can be delayed.

In addition, the phenolic substances in wine serve as antioxidants and reduce the likelihood of bad cholesterol attaching to the artery wall. Also, the antioxidants in wine can help to reduce the damage caused by the body’s free radicals (toxic waste products) that are understood to contribute to diseases ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Moderate vs. excess consumption…

While drinking wine in moderation possibly brings some desirable health benefits, it must be noted that there is often a fine line between drinking in moderation and drinking to excess. It has been proven and understood for many years that excessive alcohol consumption can cause and/or exacerbate a multitude of health problems.

There is a strong case for taking it easy and adhering to guidelines for the safe consumption of alcohol. Awareness of appropriate and safe alcohol — and more particularly wine — consumption is just one aspect of integrating wine into a healthy lifestyle. The good news is that there are some examples of evidence and strategies that can be applied to drinking wine with a meal that help you to slow down and enjoy your food and the culinary experience.

While alcohol should always be consumed in moderation, it is certainly positive that a number of health benefits are associated with the moderate consumption of alcohol.