Snow Day Writing: The Health Benefits of Wine

It’s a snow day Sunday. I wanted to take dad to Winery at La Grange to see what we won in our “secret envelope.” This is a cool contest they do in December – spend $75 and get an envelope with a prize inside – the trick is you cannot open it until January, and it has to be opened by winery staff.  Prizes range from discounts to free tastings, and apparently this year a free year of club membership and free tickets to one of their wine dinners.  I’m excited to bring my envelope back and see what I get…

I could chill some white wine in the snow on that table.  *sigh* I’ve already finished the Linden Rose and I’m working on the Novum leftovers now.

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So this, in essence, is a post about nothing.  More than anything, it’s musings about the media obsession with telling us wine is healthy and then telling us they were wrong it’s bad, and then coming back and saying, no, it’s really healthy!

In my morning reading, before I went out for round one of shoveling, I came across this article on the ten health benefits of wine.  I liked this a lot because it lets me remind husband that the wine habit is a good habit, like going to the gym :).  A lot of the list is redundant, like the anti-oxidants, but there were some I didn’t know about:

3. It increases bone density.

As we get older, our bones get more brittle. You could increase your calcium intake by drinking milk, or you can do yourself a real favor and sip on a relaxing glass of wine.

Red wine has high levels of silicon, which is great for your bone mineral density. It increases the density and reduces the chance of osteoporosis…

4. It reduces the risk of stroke.

Moderate consumption of wine – and alcohol in general – can prevent blood clotting. Wine acts as a natural blood thinner, breaking up any blood clots that could lead to a stroke. This lower risk of blood clotting is more beneficial to females than males.

Red wine, in particular, contains phenols that act as a blood thinner in a similar regard to aspirin – and resveratrol is mostly to thank. A study done by John Hopkins University Medical Center found that resveratrol found in red grape skins could protect against stroke when the grapes were turned into wine.

Beware, while light to moderate consumption may be good in preventing a stroke, heavy drinkers are more likely to have the opposite effect, resulting in a higher risk of heart attacks, not a lower risk. Like all good things in life, moderation is key.

Thanks for that reminder about moderation.  But these are two effects I had not read about previously.  Apparently resveratrol is kind of a big deal with lots of good benefits, and there is a nice bit of it in wine.

WebMD in 2000 jumped on the bandwagon and agreed with us, that drinking wine is great for you because of phenols lowering cholesterol and fighting free radicals.

But it goes back and forth and some years they tell us there are no benefits, or that you can only have one or two glasses a week, and some tell us know you can have two 5-ounce pours per day.  I’m going to have to get better at measuring my pours :).

At the end of the day, it’s really about happiness.

Wine is the center of happiness. It relaxes our mind and brings smiles to faces.

And that’s what it’s about – the complexity and depth that creates a sense of awe from sipping the glass, the cool, crisp refreshing acidity of a nice white wine of a hot evening, the smoothness of the rose that cools you off and is fabulous with cheese.

I hope the health benefits are real, and the pendulum doesn’t swing back to “It’s all bad for you…” A friend used to say, “Moderation in everything, including moderation.” I like that, because I generally do moderate except when something is incredibly good and I’m really excited about it. Then all bets are off.  Just ask my husband :).

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