Media reports widely cite the numerous health benefits of light to moderate alcohol consumption.  And, much to this wine-lover’s delight, researchers single out red wine  as the most potent among  other specific beverages. (Goldberg & Soleas, 93).  But, the media catches a lot of criticism for sensationalizing these scientific findings. As a writer with some background in research, I set out to find the truth. The answer may shock you.

Various studies have shown that in comparison with abstainers, light/moderate alcohol consumers seem to have lower risks of age-dependent cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease (Vasanthi, Parameswari, Deleiris & Das, 1505).  In addition to neurological health advantages, strong epidemiological evidence suggests that light to moderate consumption diminishes cardiovascular risk, including the risks associated with hypertension. The greatest blood pressure benefit occurred for women when consuming one drink per day, while the greatest blood pressure benefit occurred for men with two drinks per day (Huige & Forstermann). Still, further research finds that alcohol consumption may reduce the incidence of Type II Diabetes Mellitus. All sounds good, right?

Researchers David. M. Goldberg and George J. Soleas thought so too, but they were curious, does red wine trump all other alcoholic beverages when it comes to health advantages? Much to my dismay, the answer remains no, but I’m going to let my curious brain keep that little secret from my tannin-seeking tongue.  Actually, these researchers found that so far the the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have withstood scientific challenge (Goldberg & Soleas, 100); however, the polyphenols present in red wine add little if anything to the health benefits conferred by the alcohol (Ibid, 99). Be still my merlot-soaked heart!

Alas, beer and liquor drinkers may rejoice in their libation-of-choice inclusion, but I still prefer  my evening ritual to include a dry cabernet and some dark chocolate. Mmmm.

If you’re like me and always looking to taste new varietals and vintages, be sure to check out Bottlenotes Around the World in 80 Sips this evening at Mile High Station. They have searched far and wide for 80+ of the world’s finest wines and you’ll taste them all during a night of sipping, swilling and socializing. This signature tasting party celebrates wines from around the world from countries like Italy and New Zealand and our very own Napa Valley, featuring varietals from such inimitable names as Italy’s Castello Banfi, Napa’s Chateau Montelena, and New Zealand’s Craggy Range. In between tasting you’ll indulge in savory bites of iGourmet’s artisanal premium cheeses and Rick’s Picks pickled vegetables to name a few. Find more information here: www.Bottlenotes.com/Around-The-World-In-80-Sips-Denver#DEN

Proceeds from the event will benefit Minds Matter of Denver, an organization that transforms the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for success in college and beyond. For more information on how to get involved, visit MindsMatterDenver.org or comment on this article and I’ll send you the information directly.

 

Goldberg, D.M. , & Soleas, G.J.  (2011). Wine and health: A paradigm for alcohol and antioxidants. J Med Biochem,  30, 93–102.

Huige, L., & Forstermann, U. (2012). Red wine and cardiovascular health. Retrieved from http://circres.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/09/06/CIRCRESAHA.112.278705.short

Vasanthi, H.R., Parameswari, R.P., DeLeiris, J. , & Das, D.K. (2012). Health benefits of wine and alcohol from neuroprotection to heart health. Frontiers in Bioscience, 4, 1505-1512.

Kaelyn Gustafson is the Desk Editor for Health and Sports at 303 Magazine. She is an avid runner, eager cyclist, and yogi-lovin’ Denver enthusiast. Follow her posts on Twitter.

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