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Sep 9, 2013 06:54 AM

Red wine - what's behind its healthy reputation?

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  1. High concentrations of anti-oxidants and the compound, resveratrol, that has other health benefits such as an immune enhancer and anti-inflammatory. It also has antiseptic properties known since ancient times. I recall from ancient history in high school that a standing order in the Roman army - under penalty of death - was that all water consumed had to be cut with 50% red wine to cleanse it of its impurities.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chefpaulo

      Obviously, you didn't read the article . . .

      >>> But, so far, studies on resveratrol have taken place in the lab - as yet there is no evidence that it can be effective in humans. <<<

      1. re: zin1953

        Actually, on Chefpaulo's behalf, I did read the whole article (thanks for that) but one not need more than a few of sentences to see this "Scientists agree that there is something in red wine that, when drunk in moderation, can help to protect the heart, reduce 'bad' cholesterol and prevent blood clots".

        For people for whom alcohol isn't contraindicated, it doesn't matter if the good effects come via antioxidants, resveratrol, or pixie dust in the tannins...and none of these mention the psyche-enhancing convivial side of good red wine. That's a stress reducer right there.

        1. re: zin1953

          I can't remember the name of the doctor in Boston who did research back in the early 90's. I don't recall that it was only about lab testing....

      2. The science is inconclusive, but the relative fitness and longevity of the French, with their rich diet and red wine swilling, is persuasive.

        1. "Wine, by all scientific research criteria, should not be viewed so much as an alcoholic beverage, but more as a health food," according to Dr. Thomas Fogarty, the Stanford Univ. doctor who invented the catheter, and who
          also founded the winery named after him:

          1. Funny that that article doesn't even mention the "French paradox."

            1. i can speak only for myself: but having consumed approximately one bottle of red wine per day for the last 20 years, i was told by my doctor that i have the low bad cholesterol/high good cholesterol "of an Olympic swimmer"...did genetics and other factors contribute? sure...but i'll give the red wine some benefit of the doubt...

              6 Replies
              1. re: Simon

                When customers ask me about red wine for health, I refer them to this study:



                Which wines should you consume to reap the most benefits?

                Researchers at the University of California, at Davis tested a variety of wines to determine which types have the highest concentrations of flavonoids. Their results concluded that the flavonoid favorite is Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir. Both Merlots and red zinfandels have fewer flavonoids than their more potent predecessors. White wine had significantly smaller amounts than the red wine varieties. The bottom line is the sweeter the wine, the fewer the flavonoids. Dryer red wines are your best bet for a flavonoid boost.

                How much red wine should I drink?

                A four-ounce glass of wine is equivalent to one serving. Men will benefit from consuming one to two servings per day. Women should consume only one serving per day to reap the maximum benefits. This is not to say that you should start drinking alcohol if you presently do not. Occasional or binge drinkers have higher mortality rates than those who drink moderately on a regular basis. In those who consume three or more drinks per day, there is an increased risk for elevated serum triglycerides (fat in the bloodstream). Long-term, excessive alcohol consumption can damage nerve cells, the liver and the pancreas. Heavy drinkers are also at risk for malnutrition, as alcohol may substitute for more nutritious foods.

                1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                  That page you linked to is pretty misleading and out of date.

                  It mentions resveratrol, which has had some promising effects in lab tests on mice, but you'd have to drink 80 bottles of wine a day to get that much of it.


                  It mentions flavonoids as antioxidants. Their presumed health benefits were extrapolated from the proven health benefits of eating lots of fruits and vegetables.


                  Research on the health benefits of moderate drinking suggest that it doesn't matter whether you drink beer, wine, or hard liquor.


                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Hi Robert,
                    Thanks for the heads up and new information. Just trying to keep up.

                    1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

             is the best source I've found for the current thinking by skeptical and well-informed professionals who aren't trying to sell you anything.

                      1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

                        It's mainly the ethyl alcohol, but the procyanidins contribute.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          "Red wine may contain more substances in addition to alcohol that could prevent blood clots, relax blood vessel walls, and prevent the oxidation [LDL] … In practice, however, alcohol choice appears to have little effect on cardiovascular benefit."