Drinking Wine for Health in New York City
>> The New York Times ran two significant articles in 2002, which, if followed, have the potential of transforming our lives into thin, energetic, physically-fit people!
The first indicates that the Atkins' high protein, high fat diet has been proven to be a fast, easy and healthy way to lose weight.
Even better, the second reveals drinking strategies that have a very positive impact on health and longevity.
Steak, cheese and red wine lovers, take heart - literally!
Check the Atkins' site for a copy of Gary Taubes' New York Times article. Also listen to Brian Lehrer discuss the Atkins diet through the WNYC Radio Station site.
Much of this article is based on "The Case for Drinking - All Together Now: In Moderation!," by Abigail Zuger, December 31, 2002, published in the The New York Times. Once on the New York Times site, create an account for yourself (free), then search for this article in the Foods section.
How much of a good thing?
As you'll soon learn, up to two glasses of red wine a day provides incredible health benefits, but how big is a healthy "glass"?
The "glass measurement" under discussion is around 4.5 ounces. Many common wine glasses, however, hold 8 ounces or more. The larger sizes are great for wine industry profits, but are not so good for you should you start doubling them for a healthy lifestyle.
That said, before you start applying the information below, find out how much you're actually drinking! A Big Gulp or two may be hazardous to your health . . .
Benefits, benefits, fantastic benefits
Although the health benefits of red wine (and some hard liquors) have been known to scientists for almost a half-century, United States government health agencies worked to suppress this information, reasoning that temperance (not drinking) was always better than drunkenness. It now appears that temperance has serious side effects!
Studies supporting the health-enhancing benefits of drinking red wine are extensive and conclusive. They indicate why the incidence of heart attacks and stroke are very low in France, where red wine consumption, coupled with meals larded with butter, cheese, liver and fatty meat is high, and why heart attacks and strokes are very common in the United States, where red wine consumption is low.
Dr. Atkins dieters, take note! Red wine is an exceptionally low-carb beverage that goes well with cheese.
Now then, if you are over 30 years old and drink between 4.5 to 9 ounces of red wine a day, here is what studies say you gain:
- Drinking red wine is as good for your heart as an hour of daily exercise.
- Not drinking red wine all appears to be as bad for the heart as morbid obesity.
- Of 80,000 women who participated in a study, those who drank two daily glasses of red wine had only half the risk of heart attack over those who did not, even when the abstainers were slim and physically fit.
- Middle-age, red-wine drinkers with high cholesterol had 50% less risk of developing heart troubles than abstainers.
- Drinking red wine after age of 40 has been associated with reduced death rates during every subsequent decade of their life. In 100,000 California adults, that reduced death rate was as much as 30%.
- There is no indication that people who daily drink red wine lead healthier lifestyles than those who do not, thereby indicating that it is the wine that provides the positive benefits, not exercise itself.
- Drinking red wine combats high cholesterol and acts as a weak blood thinner.
- Red wine apparently keeps cells in good repair, with grape seed extracts (tannins) now being thought to quicken the healing of skin wounds.
- Drinking red wine raises the blood levels of good cholesterol (H.D.L), freeing blood vessels of fatty plaques that can cause heart attacks, strokes and other problems.
- Drinking red wine increases H.D.L. far more effectively than running several miles a week (which doesn't affect H.D.L. all that much anyway).
- Drinking red wine is better than taking the B vitamin niacin supplements. Although niacin is very effective, it has to be taken at very high doses to obtain the desired result.
- Drinking red wine appears to prevent diabetes, a disease which is part of the risk factor of heart disease.
- Red-wine drinkers over the age of 55 have a 40% lower risk of developing dementia (Alzheimer's), possibly because of a reduced risk of stroke.
- Red-wine drinkers tend to be slightly thinner than non-drinkers.
- Red-wine drinkers tend to be more sensitive to insulin than non-drinkers, with more efficient metabolisms.
- Amazingly, the antioxidant activity in a glass of red wine "equals that of 7 glasses of orange juice or 20 of apple juice." The antioxidant effect increases blood flow through tissues and protects cells from the effects of aging.
- Recent studies indicate that red wine keeps cells from producing a chemical that constricts blood vessels, suggesting that it improves the blood flow to organs such as the brain and heart.
- There is an indication that the antioxidants found in red wine keep heart muscle cells from dying.
- Overall, drinking up to two glasses a day red wine provides more risk decreasing benefit than reducing cholesterol from 240 to 210 and reducing systolic blood pressure from 140 to 120. (Framingham study, begun in 1948.)
Note that some hard liquors, very dark, tannin-rich beers and some white wines are reported to have the same benefits as red wine.
Red wine, however, appears to be the best bet. A decent bottle costs less than most medications, plus you can get healthy while dining or when out with friends.
Here are three reasonably priced reds that I enjoy. As for the smiling fool pictured above? He's a wine-savvy replica of an antique Italian puppet.
+ Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile. $7.50
+ Sunrise Valle Central Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile. $7.00
+ Turning Leaf Coastal Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, California. $10
Questions or comments?
Article and photo by Karen Little. First published on 2/2/2003. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.