Wine Benefits - Health Effects of Wine

Effects of wine on the health of human body cannot be overstated. The early invention of wine, almost 8 thousand years ago, enabled it to be an integral part of the advancement of human civilization. During those times, ancient winemakers started noticing positive effect of wine and as millennia went on its influence on human diet and medicine slowly rose. In modern times, many scientist invested vast resources in exploring the structure of wine and its effects on the body. Nearly all recent findings paint distinctive differences between moderate and heavy drinking, noting several positive and negative effects between those two ways of consummation.

Is wine healthy?

Since the early days of winemaking in Armenia and Egypt over 3.000 years ago, healers started noticing medicinal effect of wine. Records found at archeological sites managed to confirm existence of several wine based medicine recipes, which makes wine the first man-made medicine in the world. In the 1st millennia BC, Greeks introduced more systematic approach to medicine, cataloguing and creating many new ingredients for healing people. One of the Greeks greatest physicians of all time Hippocrates was the first to introduce the concept of "diet", in which wine made important part. Alternative uses of wines were as a wound disinfectant, medium for mixing sour drugs, ailment for diarrhea, lethargy, and pain reliever during childbirth. Romans took the advices made by Greeks and continued to use wine as a part of their medicine. Famous physician Galen used wine as a disinfectant so successfully, that under his care only 5 heavily wounded gladiators died from wound infections (compared to the 60 deaths during the time of his predecessors). As the Catholic priests took over the production of wine in dark and middle Ages, they often recommended wine as a general medicine, describing it as " the foremost of all medicines: wherever wine is lacking, medicines become necessary." 14th century book by physician Arnaldus de Villa Nova proved that wine by then has become point of interest of many scientists and physicians, especially after its popularity greatly increased during the times when clear water was scarce and majority of southern Europe population drank wine on regular basis.

By the end of 19th century, public reception of wine started to shift. Increased occurrences of alcoholism, deliberations about giving that condition status of disease, and general public dissatisfaction with long-term alcohol effects influenced the medical community to reconsider the use of wine in medicine and diet. United States went one step further, and after great public pressure introduced era of Prohibition (1920-1033), in which all uses of alcohol (except in therapeutic and religious situations) was strictly forbidden.

Public interest in beneficial effects of wine consumption returned during 1990s and 2000s.One of the defining moments for that was 1991s US news program "60 Minutes" which described the effect of "French Paradox", and the low occurrences of heart diseases and lower mortality rates in French population. Although neighboring countries had similar high fat/high dairy diets, better health status in France was attributed to the moderate use of red wine. Following that program, sales of red wine jumped 44% in the US, and many international studies started examining wine with great detail.

Moderate use of wine

Moderate consumption is essential for enabling all beneficial effect of wine. Moderate amount is not same for every individual, and it varies with accordance to age, gender, genetics, weight and body stature and the current food diet that accompanies wine. Generally accepted "moderate consumption" amount is 5-US-fluid-ounce (150 ml) glass of wine per day for women and two glasses per day for men.

Positive aspects of moderate wine use

  • Reduced coronary heart diseases - One of the most apparent effects of wine on bloodstream is their alteration of blood lipid levels -it lowers total cholesterol count and raises the density of lipoprotein (HDL).
  • Reduced risk of death from nearly all causes - European studies show that moderate use of wine prolongs the life of everyone.
  • Reparation of harmful smoking effects - Moderate use of wine causes reparation of the harmfully effects of smoking, especially in blood vessels and heart.
  • Fortification of immune system - Several studies confirmed that consumption of red wine does not suppress the efficiency of immune system like other alcoholic beverages.
  • Polyphenols - Presence of tannin in wine has a great positive effect on human body. It increases the amount of antioxidants, reduce blood pressure, lessen risk of cancer and stimulate immune system.
  • Prevention of Stroke - Resveratrol, naturally occurring antioxidant, plays a big role in maintaining the health of blood vessels. It decreases the stickiness of blood platelets (blood clots) and helps blood vessels to be open and flexible. Red wine provides much more resveratrol than white wine.
  • Anti-bacterial activity - Studies have confirmed that moderate consumers of wine have much higher chances of fighting bacteria in their bodies. Compared to non-drinkers, patients who fought against bacteria Helicobacter pylori which infects ulcer had much better recovery rates. Those who drank one glass of wine per day had 7% less bacteria, and those who drank 3 glasses had 1/3 less.
  • Kidney stones - Moderate use of red wine reduces the risk of kidney stone formation.
  • Anti-stressand hypertension- Wine has great calming effects, especially for the people with other illness that have problems with lack of calm and focus.
  • Alzheimer's disease - Studies have shown that moderate intake of wine decreases chances of Alzheimer's. This effect is mostly contributed to resveratrol.
  • Decreased ovarian cancer risk in women.
  • Stronger bones (only with moderate use).

Note: All figures are approximate; this site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.