"Cultivate no plant, my Verus, before the rows of sacred vine,
Set in Tibur’s gentle soil, and by the walls Catilus founded:
Because the god decreed all things are hard for those who never drink,
And he gave us no better way to lessen our anxieties.” Horace 65 BCE
As long as we are subjected to the hardships of this new restrictive and discomforting reality, I will be here to bring you a little bit of good news, words of encouragement and a sense of hope. Could wine be the elixir of our betterment and an answer to some of our physical and spiritual ailments? Let’s investigate. Before delving into the benefits of drinking wine, reluctantly, I have to start with a disclaimer: I, Cezar Kusik, declare that the benefits of drinking wine presented in this article may apply only to those who consume it in MODERATION. Many researchers and studies have been conducted in recent decades that support the claims of the positive effects of moderate wine consumption on our overall health and well-being. Let’s make this clear; there is no question about the benefits of a healthy, alcohol-free lifestyle, but if approached modestly, wine can enrich your life on many levels.
The differences in the production of white vs. red wines are not significant, but they result in a substantial contrast in the wine’s composition. After pressing the juice out of white grapes, all the pulp, including the skins and pits, is removed. In the case of red wines, following the pressing, the juice is exposed to prolonged maceration with the skins and seeds to extract the color and tannins. It is in the tannins where all the antioxidative compounds, including resveratrol, are located. So yes, when discussing the health benefits of wine, we mainly refer to red wine.
Resveratrol seems to be the frequently mentioned magic ingredient. Resveratrol is a polyphenol whose high concentration is found in grape skin and seeds. Numerous studies have demonstrated that resveratrol exhibits multiple health-promoting qualities. It possesses a very high antioxidant potential and anticancer properties. It promotes cardiovascular health by decreasing LDL, “bad cholesterol” in our bloodstream and increasing HDL known as “good cholesterol”, which reduces the risks of heart disease. Furthermore, resveratrol is reported to play a big role in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease prevention. Studies have shown that it enables a more effective oxygen supply and glucose to the brain to keep it functioning more efficiently. In 2006, scientists reported that red wine compounds called procyanidins might also help to reduce blood pressure.
What about the psychological state of affairs? Depression is a clear and present danger in our society, affecting hundreds of thousands of people, preventing them from experiencing life at its fullest. A seven-year study conducted by PREDIMED analyzed 5,500 individuals discovering that those who drank two to seven glasses of wine a week were less prone to depression than non-drinkers. But what about the close correlation between depression and alcoholism? That’s alcoholism. Again, MODERATION is the keyword here, and it seems that if approached in that fashion, wine will keep depression and anxiety at bay. It works for me!
Can wine help with another of modern humanity’s ills—obesity? Wine, specifically white wine, contains antioxidants called epicatechin, quercetin and again, a bit of resveratrol. These compounds decrease bad cholesterol and inflammation usually associated with obesity.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease common to women in the later stages of their lives. One or two glasses of wine have been shown to prevent the bones from thinning.
Wine, and specifically resveratrol, seems to be helpful in the prevention of macular degeneration. It is an incurable, age-related eye disease that affects the central portion of the retina.
To smooth things out and wrap it all up in a pretty package, another study showed that wine could keep our skin healthier. The antioxidants rejuvenate the skin by improving its elasticity and adding luster. Wine can also stimulate blood circulation that can prevent wrinkle formation.
Aside from the tangible health benefits wine has to offer, it also, just as importantly, adds a touch of magic into our lives. That magic starts in the vineyards with the beauty and the labor of all the stages of grape growing where the results depend on the harmonious coexistence of nature and people. With the miracle of fermentation, that magic is carried all the way through to our wine glass, and to that sublime sensation of soulful warmth with a multitude of flavors and aromas on our palates. It inspires and emboldens. It brings people together in the environment of sharing, friendship and intimacy. Wine is the Yin and Yang. It combines the joy of living with the quest for longevity, and it seems to be the answer to both. Wine is laughter, wine is an embrace, but most importantly, it is a story of what was, what is and what is to come.
While working from home or not working at all the temptations of having drinks are many and our defenses compromised. That is why our discipline is in high demand right now. As shown above, wine can have a positive impact on many aspects of our overall wellbeing. So, drink responsibly and moderately my friends and I see the light at the end of the tunnel!
By: Cezar Kusik