You make me feel so fine
By Marc Phillips
Red wine can have many different functions among various groups of people.
In the Jewish religion, Kosher wine is used to celebrate holidays or events. To college students, a box of $9-wine means a fun—yet messy— weekend. For those who live in Mediterranean countries, wine is a part of everyday culture.
A bottle of Manischewitz may seem to have nothing in common with a box of Franzia or a bottle of fine Sicilian wine, but they are all fundamentally the same. These wines have some level of health-related benefits, even if the wine is from a vineyard or perhaps manufactured swill.
In an online article about heart disease, Mayo Clinic is fast to prove the benefits of drinking red wine in moderation. “The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of ‘good’ cholesterol and protecting against artery damage,” Mayo Clinic staff explains.
In addition, resveratrol is produced naturally within the skin of red grapes. Doctors believe this is where the health benefits lie—ingesting resveratrol helps improve metabolism. Therefore, those who are dieting are encouraged to eat antioxidant-rich foods with high levels of resveratrol. These foods include fruits such as blueberries and strawberries, and vegetables such as kale and red bell peppers.
Furthermore, resveratrol promotes anti-inflammatory properties that can help curb obesity. According to an online resveratrol aficionado about recent Danish research, “Researchers claim that a daily glass of wine could stave off cancer of the [throat]. A study found that those who enjoy a regular tipple more than halved their risk of developing Barrett’s Oesophagus, an untreatable condition that can lead to oesophageal cancer.”
So what are the best wines to drink? “Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir,” Yale-New Haven Hospital recommends. Many of us cannot budget for these high-end wines, but those who are fortunate to drink these libations will be markedly healthier over the long term. Flavanoid, another compound with similar properties as resveratrol, is key in producing the anti-inflammatory in the wines. The key, however, is moderation.
Drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is admonished in the United States, the land of excess. In Europe, drinking is encouraged from a young age, as it is commonplace in the culture. Researchers at Duke University even found that while wine sales have declined in Italy, wine still accounts for 2 percent of the household budget. The custom of family members drinking a glass of wine at least once a day still lives after many centuries. The tradition is so engrained in the culture that drinking isn’t a taboo. In Europe, drinking alcohol typically isn’t an activity to indulge in—it is seen as part of a moderate diet.
So the next time you’re playing “Tour de Franzia” on a Saturday night, remember that even the trace amounts of resveratrol in the box can almost justify the impending hangover.
Marc Phillips is a sophomore IMC major who swears he is waiting until he is 21 to try wine. E-mail him at [email protected]