Obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol aside, we are on such a health kick in this country today. Foods that we once considered good for you fell out of favor, some were straight out bad for you. But wait, then they weren’t. Nutritionists seem to go round and round, suggesting, warning and then backtracking. What is a wanting to be healthy person to do? Well, relax. Sit back and daydream a little in between exercise sessions, and drink…WINE!
Research has run the entire gamut concerning things like caffeine and alcohol. Too much caffeine is no good because it can upset your nervous system. But, caffeine in moderation can help prevent certain cancers and help to stave off dementia. Likewise, alcohol in moderation is good for your heart, can dilate arteries to increase blood flow and can raise levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. A lot to think about and digest here.
See, wine is predominantly made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar and produces ethanol, carbon dioxide and heat. This natural process has been around and basically unchanged for thousands of years and has traveled to pretty much every country in the world. Other fruits have been added, amounts of sugar have been experimented and the aging process has been refined, but still, the basic process has not changed since the dawn of time. Aaah, but now, in this day and age, we concern ourselves too often with foods that taste like dirt but contain vitamins and we deprive ourselves of the pleasure we are supposed to get from food and drink. But in the case of wine, we can indulge with a comforting feeling that we are ingesting something healthful, as we pay homage to our ancestors.
For some time now red wine has stolen the spotlight in this regard. It has long been known now that moderate consumption of red wine can and does lower blood pressure, decreases the risk of heart disease, lowers the risk of heart attack and can prevent certain forms of cancer. By moderate, studies usually feel that two, four-ounce glasses is enough. They even point to the “French Paradox,” a theory that points to the fact that the French suffer from ⅓ the heart attacks we do here in America. I think the operative word here is moderation. There is no reason to think that if two glasses are good, a whole bottle would be great! No. As in all things, moderation is the key and common sense contributes so much to a daily routine.
But what about white wine? And champagne. They are made from the same thing, grapes, the same or very similar process. Hey, hey! Good news. They both contain the goodness of the skins, the flavonoids, bioflavonoids, vitamins, minerals and all the goodness of red wine, just admittedly in somewhat less quantity. As for antioxidants, a study from the University of Barcelona has shown that white wines and champagne may be actually higher in antioxidants than red wine.
So, what are we saying here? Wine is a beverage that is meant to be enjoyed, without the guilt. Like everything else, it has its uses, a purpose. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t have been around for so long. Think about that part alone in the context of how long say Coke or Pepsi, Mountain Dew or Gatorade have been around. Being Italian, I can remember that long ago pregnant women were encouraged to drink a little wine every day. It was good for the baby, and I’m sure it helped to keep mother a little calmer with everything she had to do during the day. Conversely, I never heard of a doctor encouraging anyone, anyone at all to drink a Coke. My doctor in my old neighborhood went so far as to call all sodas “poison.”
The bad side of wine drinking is there too though, and pretty formidable. Drinking to excess can lead to increased fat production, alcoholism, and too much of an excess can actually undo all the good things wine can do for you. Also, dessert wines like port wines are higher in sugar, therefore calories, and because of the higher sugar content, they can lead to some very nasty after-effects.
So, the key is moderation. Let your body do its work. Believe me. Your body knows what it needs and will send out the signals to let you know. Act accordingly. But along the way you might want to give your body a little help, a little treat. Even a little pick-me up. When that happens, wine is the almost perfect food. Raise a glass and treat yourself. Just remember the operative word…moderation. Everything in moderation. Including moderation.
Salutti! To the good life!