by Henry Weingarten

Drinking wine in moderation offers physical, emotional and mental benefits. In dream interpretation, drinking wine predicts joy and friendship.  Both are major contributors to a healthy lifestyle. Popular health advice can too often be limited to eating better and exercising more. While obviously important, it is the improved mind/body dynamic due to wine drinking that I wish to emphasize here. Enjoying a wine life style can not only become a tasty antidote to a busy and hectic life but also provide a happier and healthier life balance.
Historically, wine was a healthier drink than water due its alcohol content. Alcohol decreases bacteria in the stomach. Even today, common “food poisoning” is less common when drinking wine with a meal!  Scientific research suggests the following benefits of drinking red wine:

•          Red wine helps prevents Heart diseases:  Mayo clinic studies show red wine in moderation is good for the heart, although large amounts can be harmful.
•          Red wine protects against cancer: scientific studies have shown a decreased incidence as well as a slower progression of some cancers. The “antioxidant” effect reduces harmful molecules called “free radicals” which are linked to cancer.
•          Red wine even has dental benefits.  It can treat and avoid diverse gum diseases.
•          Red wine helps reduce stress, which naturally enhances well being and healthy aging.

But more than the above short list (and it could be expanded considerably), the bottom line is making life (and even sex) more enjoyable, e.g. eating many foods is more pleasurable when accompanied by red wine. Remember, however, that while there are many benefits to drinking wine, too much drinking of wine will outweigh the benefits and be harmful to your health. Studies comparing both nondrinkers and very heavy drinkers to light and moderate drinkers find the latter group has a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia and mortality.  Still, few doctors are willing to recommend that abstainers initiate light to moderate consumption of red wine.

Scientists investigating the “French Paradox” - why the French suffer a low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite having a diet high in saturated fats first - discovered Resveratrol to help explain wine's health benefits. However, since Resveratrol occurs in wine at very low levels of concentration, it is unlikely that this antioxidant alone can explain the French Paradox. It may be better explained by the combination of chemicals in wine, especially oligomeric polyphenols.  Polyphenols, also known as Flavonoids, and Resveratrol together are found in red wine skins, hence the recommendation to drink red wine. Not only do they slow down damaging cellular oxidation, they also increase HDL - the "good" cholesterol  and decrease LDL -the "bad" cholesterol – especially when wine is taken with food at the evening meal. However, I personally do not believe the health benefits of wine is reducible to just a list of chemicals alone. Drinking wine, alone or with food, can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

To dream of drinking wine is a positive sign for health and predicts a more satisfying phase of life.  In dream interpretation a bottle of red wine is a sign of prosperity.  Health AND Wealth? Why wait when you can easily make this dream a reality today! Doubly enjoy drinking to your health - Salute.  Of course, relax (drink) responsibly!  


Q: Is only red wine good for you?
A: While white wine studies also show health benefits, red wine contains much more Resveratrol than white wine. This is because the longer the skin is kept on the grape during the wine making process, the greater the concentration of Resveratrol in the wine. In making white wine, the grape skin is removed before fermentation. Wines from cooler climates have more Resveratrol. Thus, red wines from cool climates have the greatest amount of Resveratrol.
Q: What kind of red wine?
A: This depends on which of the many ingredients in Red Wine you are trying to optimize.  The top two noble grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, generally score highest.  
Q: How much to drink?
A: This is still a subject for debate. Up to two glasses per day for women and three glasses per day for men is the upper limit of moderate drinking.  Remember we are speaking of 5 oz glasses, not bottles and drinking wines with higher alcohol content or using larger glasses should reduce this number. Alternately, advice for men is “one drink is good and more than two isn’t” and a one glass recommendation for women.
Q: What wines should I drink?
A: The brands you enjoy most.  Remember the psychological benefits of wine drinking is as important as, or even greater than, its physical properties alone.
Q: What if you don't like red wine?
A: First, it may be not that you don’t like red wine, but that you don’t like particular grape varietals. There are many different kinds of Red wines (See our forthcoming Exploring Red Wines).
Second, it could be the quality of the red wine you have been drinking that should be improved. But if you still don’t like red wine, try rose or white!
Finally, there are Resveratrol supplements and you might even enjoy snacking on a tasty RESVEZ WINETIME candy bar, especially if you have a bit of a sweet tooth. Each bar has the equivalent Resveratrol of drinking more than 50 glasses of wine! Still, I find that it does not provide the pleasure and sociability of sharing a glass of wine with a friend or lover.

The above article was written for the May 2011 issue of the online food magazine Stick a Fork in it.