Red Wine – the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

So, is red wine good for you?

The good part relates of course to the much-publicised  high content of polyphenols which originate from the skins, seeds, and vine stems of red grapes. This anti-oxidant comes in two main forms: flavonoids and nonflavonoids, the latter being the one well-known for resveratrol, the substance known to be the found in the skin of the red grape (or for that matter, any of the colored berries, like raspberry,cranberry,blueberry,etc).

Red, Rose or White? Choose Red for Resveratrol

One of most well-documented benefits of red wine is the heart protective effect. Moderate consumption of red wine on a regular basis may be a prevent coronary heart disease, as well as increasing the levels of the good HDL-cholesterol. It is believed the polyphenols as anti-oxidants also prevent plaque formation and clogging of the arteries in the heart, besides having an anti-clotting effect that causes ‘thinning’ of the blood.

And what’s moderate consumption? 2 glasses (1 glass=5 oz=150 cc) for men and 1 glass for women daily.

And what about the bad? Even the Bard knew about this –

‘Alcohol provokes the desire, but takes away the performance.’

(Shakespeare (1564-1616), Macbeth; Act II, Scene 3)

Also, apart from migraine and dehydration (the thirst the morning after), the alcohol in the wine interacts with a lot of medications special warning to those taking tranquillizers and sedatives because alcohol is a downer which adds on to the effects of these pills to cause, in extreme cases, inability to breathe, coma and death. Impairment of attention and skills, including delayed reaction times is a well-known danger for drivers, a fact well-known in causing serious accidents on the road. Temporary amnesia is well-known among boozers, and is best exemplified by UB40’s Red Red Wine:

Red, red wine
Goes to my head
Makes me forget that I
Still need you so

And what about the ugly side of drinking wine? This goes to those who pretend to be wine-buffs and make common mistakes.. such as:

  • mis-pronounciation: saying Pinot Noir and pronouncing the ‘T’. Saying Semillion as it is spelt instead of ‘Seh-Mee-Yhon’.
  • Ignorance: complaining that the waiter didn’t pour them enough wine, when the intention was for them to taste it. Or making it a point that the red wine was too warm.
  • Misplaced beliefs: ordering a bottle of expensive wine just so it looks like they know their wine, when they haven’t a clue what they’re actually drinking.
  • Misplaced practices: vigorously swilling the wine around in the glass to allow it to breathe but then embarrassingly spilling it over themselves. Or (this one takes the cake) complaining to the waiter  that the wine was corked, not realising it came from a screw-top bottle.

At the end of the day, it might help, especially to those who do not touch alcohol, to note that the beneficial effects of red wine comes not from the alcohol but from the skin of the red grape, so it is believed that fresh juices from coloured berries, like raspberry,cranberry,blueberry,etc, may confer a similar effect. Cheers!

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3 responses

  1. 2 glasses a day? That’s a tall order!

  2. For those who are teetotallers, will it help to take resveratrol tablets that are being touted in several on-line pharmacies? I am a bit sceptical about them.
    Doctor2008 says: I share your trepidation. Up to now, there is no scientific proof that taking these tablets do confer benefits

  3. Cool website, I had not come across earlier in my searches!
    Carry on the great work!

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