Healthy Living Wine

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Do the benefits outweigh the costs to your health?

April 18, 2017

Should you really be drinking a glass of wine every day?

What image do you associate with wine? It’s probably not someone guzzling bottles of cabernet at a bar, right? Most likely, you think of a sophisticate sipping on a fine glass of red at a restaurant or while lounging on the couch reading.

Wine may appear more benign than hard liquor or beer because of its association with leisure, sophistication, food and religious traditions. Many contradictory claims related to the drink’s health effects have resulted in confusion over whether wine drinkers should savor a glass of wine every day or not.

The French Paradox suggests that despite having a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol, the French barely contract heart disease because of their high intake of red wine. It arose in the 1960s when young Europeans switched from wine to beer as they considered wine an old-fashioned habit. The wine industry needed a marketing campaign and conjured up the French Paradox, convincing the world that wine is good for the heart. People who never drank started drinking a glass of wine a day.

The rise of the French Paradox enticed researchers to study red wine, specifically resveratrol – an antioxidant in red wine alleged to protect the body’s cells and tissues against damage that can lead to cancer or heart disease. However, a longitudinal study that tracked patients’ resveratrol from 1998 to 2009 found that there was no correlation between resveratrol obtained through diet and cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Additionally, red wine can make you feel tired because the skin of the grapes used to make it has high levels of melatonin. White wine will also make you drowsy but not as intensely because there is less melatonin in the grape skin.

A glass of wine may offer instant gratification for those looking for something calming, but it can also prohibit a good night’s sleep because it disturbs sleep homeostasis. If you’ve woken up at dawn or been unable to fall into a deep sleep after a night of drinking, you’ve experienced this disruption. Additionally, if you rely on a glass of wine every night to induce sleep, you may experience withdrawal and insomnia when trying to rest without it.

Unfortunately, red wine is notorious for causing severe hangovers because it has a high concentration of congeners, which are byproducts of fermentation. White wine generally has some congeners but fewer than red. Cheap and expensive wine may taste the same to a number of us; but generally, the cheaper the wine, the more congeners.

While there is no definitive answer to whether one should drink a glass of wine every day, the health costs tend to outweigh the benefits. If you are going to indulge in wine (especially if you have work the next day), understanding the complexities and chemicals inherent in the drink can help you avoid a rough morning.