Wine has been around for thousands of years and we’re still enjoying it today. French, Chilean, Australian, Italian, Californian and many other wine producing countries have contributed to celebrations, parties, dates, weddings, birthdays and other gatherings that require an enjoyable berverage. Along with beer and whiskey, wine is one of the most consumed beverages around the world.
The earliest evidence of wine production and consumption – ceramic jars containing wine residue – was discovered at archeological sites in Russia, Georgia and Iran, dating back to between 6,000 and 5,000 BC. Early writing from Homer and Alkman have also referenced wine many times. The Ancient Romans planted vineyards near garrisons to consume locally and these areas are still very famous for producing high quality wine. During the medieval times the Roman Catholic Church supported wine making because of its role during mass. Even French monks fermented grapes and stored them in caves.
Wines are primarily made from grapes and other fruits such as peaches, apples, strawberries, plums, pears and other fruit juices. Fruit juice is fun to drink, but we think most readers will agree that wine produced from ferment fruit juice is way better. Early on, humans discovered the psychological and physical effects of alcohol and have developed desires and cravings for it. Wine is a good alcohol to drink, as its original alcohol content is lower than other types of drinks. Unlike many other alcohols, wine has no added alcohol during its fermentation. Wines are not fortified and the alcohol content is the result of its fermentation.
Types Of Wine
Generally there are two types of wine being produced around the world; red and white.
- Red wines – This type of wine is made from dark coloured grape varieties. The colour of red wines can range from younger dark violet wines to older dark ruby red wines and matured dark reddish brown wines. The red colour comes from the grape’s skin which contains anthocyan pigments or anthocyanins. Types of reds include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
- White wines – White wines are made from fermenting the grape pulp without the skin of dark grape varieties or from fermenting white grapes that are green or yellow in colour. The wort is treated to maintain its translucent yellow or golden colour. White wines are more mild and sweet compared to red wines. Types of whites include Chardonnay, Reisling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
Drinking Wine: Bad Effects And Benefits
There have been many articles written about the benefits and health risk of drinking wine. But what is the truth? As our parents remind us, too much of something is usually not healthy. A daily glass of wine has a number of benefits just like other alcoholic beverages like beer or whiskey. The magic word here is moderation, folks; always remember to drink responsibly.
According to statistics in an Alcohol Concern report, at least 1 in 4 men and 1 in 7 women go over the suggested wine intake level. Binge drinking wine will make the drinker vulnerable to heart diseases and other cardiovascular disorders such as high blood pressure or stroke, even if you are not under this risk bracket. For women in their early 20s, binge drinking can result in Osteoporosis later in life. The report also added that binge drinking can cause brain damage, liver disease, lower levels of libido, muscle and nerve issues, depression and an increased risk of suffering from deadly accidents.
However, when drinking responsibly the good effects of wine outweigh the bad.
Here are nine health benefits of drinking wine in moderation:
1. Memory Retention
Wine helps in preserving memory. A group of researchers gave memory quizzes to a group of women with an average age of 70. Women who drank a glass of wine daily scored better than those who drank less or none at all. Because of its natural alcohol content, wine helps in preventing blood clots, blood vessel blockages and inflammations which are the primary causes of heart disease and cognitive decline. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute of Sweden state that light to moderate drinkers have a lower risk of dying prematurely. The natural alcohol also helps in enhancing the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the body.
2. Food Poisoning
A glass or two of either red or white wine with a meal helps to kill the bacteria responsible for any food allergies and other illnesses caused by food. A glass of wine helps to prevent salmonella infections due to contaminated or undercooked food.
3. Maintaining Weight
People who drink wine moderately (as well as exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle) have lower total body fat, narrower waists and less abdominal fat. Just like beer in moderation, the alcohol in wine helps you burn calories for as long as 90 minutes after finishing your daily glass of wine. Do this with regular exercise and a good diet and your chances of maintaining your ideal body weight will improve.
4. Diabetes Control
Light and moderate wine drinkers have a 30% less chance of developing type-2 diabetes, according to the research made by the VU University Medical Center of Amsterdam that was published in the Journal of Diabetes Care, 2005.
5. Good Sleep
Red wine, specifically Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chinati, contain melatonin. Melatonin is a substance that helps in regulating the body clock, thus drinking a glass before you sleep can help you have a good, resting sleep. Melatonin is also known as an antioxidant that helps in slowing the effects of aging.
6. Lowers The Chances Of Cataracts
If you’re a moderate drinker, you are 32% less likely to develop cataracts as compared to non-drinkers and are 43% less likely than the drinkers who only consume beer. This is according to research of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.
7. Lower Chance Of Infections
Wine helps in boosting the defenses of your body. A glass of wine daily has the ability to lower the risk of bacterial infection, specifically Helicobacter pylori bacteria, by 11%. This bacteria is the major cause of stomach ulcers, gastritis and stomach cancer.
8. Lower Risk Of Certain Cancers
Wine also helps in lowering the chances of certain cancers. It was found that the same phenolic compounds found in wine not only help in lowering the chances of heart disease but also in slowing the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells, according to the research of University Of Crete that was published in the June 2000 issue of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. A French study also showed that the antioxidant reservatol also helps in lowering the chances of developing liver cancer, as reported in the July-August 2000 issue of Oncology Reports.
9. Stronger Bones
Women who drink wine in moderation have a higher bone mass as compared to non-drinkers. The alcohol in wine also helps to enhance estrogen levels, helping bones remain stronger when ageing.
Grab your cork screw, open up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and drink (responsibly) to your good health!
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