A WORD ON RED WINE - WHY IT MAY ACTUALLY BE GOOD FOR YOU


I always wondered if red wine was actually good for you, or if it was a nice thought to keep you from feeling so guilty about a glass in the end of the day. I've heard it all, from "its natural, it doesn't have anything added to it" to "its just grape juice, its basically a fruit" and "its good for the heart". If you've ever met a wine maker, they'll proudly say they know everything about it, and that they guarantee that its great for you.

Having had the "all alcohol is bad for you" drilled into my brain, I had to research this further. And what you'll find in this article, may just make you add a bottle of Pinot Noir to your shopping list and give a good "I told you so" to your spouse. You're welcome.

RESVERATROL

Is a type of natural phenol produced by several plant skins, such as grapes, blueberries, raspberries and mulberries. It is produced in response to plant injury, or attack by pathogens such as bacteria and fungi. Like all polyphenols, there is a lot of controversy and conflicting studies which both find and do not find conclusive results as to whether these compounds actually do have a positive effect on our body. One such study quite caught my eye. It was found that there was in fact a decrease in the intestinal adenoma development (bowel cancer) in mice, and that it was dose-dependent. Interestingly, the mice kept on a high-fat diet that took the lower dose of resveratrol (equivalent to one large, 250ml glass of red wine) showed a 50% decrease in the size of their tumour, compared to the 25% decrease in size in the high-fat diet mice that were administered a dose 200 times higher.

WHY RED?

If you're a bigger fan of fish and white meats, you may be wondering just why you would need to switch your Chardonnay. Well, resveratrol is extracted during fermentation from the skin of the wine, which is removed before fermentation in the case of white wines. Therefore, red wines are those richest in resveratrol.

SIRTUIN GENES

These are genes which code for the Sirtuin proteins, the function of which has not been determined in humans, however, yeast sirtuin proteins are known to regulate epigenetic gene silencing and suppress recombination of rDNA.

In cells which have high insulin resistance, the Sirtuin 1 genes have been found to be down regulated, and activating these genes has resulted in improved insulin sensitivity in these cells.

Sirloins are hypothesised to play a key role in an organism's response to stresses such as heat and starvation, and to be responsible for the lifespan-extending effects of calorie restriction.

Increased Sirtuin2 gene expression in mice was found to extend both the mean and the maximal lifespan and delay the onset of age-related diseases.

What does that have to do with red wine? Well, as it turns out, resveratrol increases the activity of Sirtuin 2 genes, which may be one of the mechanisms by which plants increase their own resistance to stress in times of need. This may also be the reason positive effects have been observed in humans who consumed foods rich in resveratrol.

FOETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDERS

Facial anomalies, low birth weight, stunted growth, small head size, delayed or uncoordinated motor skills, hearing or vision problems, learning disabilities, behavior problems, and inappropriate social skills compared to same-age peers are just some of the side-effects of drinking during pregnancy. This is why medical organisations strongly discourage drinking of alcohol during pregnancy, and why it should be avoided, at all amounts, at any cost, during any time of pregnancy and breastfeeding.

GIVE ME A GLASS

I don't know if you're as confused as me as to how much exactly is a glass of wine. The measurements of it range from 8cl to 24cl where I'm from, at it seems quite a large difference. And just try ordering "a glass of wine" in a restaurant, and almost surely the waiter will ask you just how much. So how do you know when to stop pouring?

One unit of red one is about 5 ounces, or 140ml, and you could be safe consuming 4 to 7 units a week.

Do keep in mind though, that although there are antioxidants in red wine, the quantities are not staggering, and put in perspective, you'd be much better off just eating some spinach. If however, you do actually enjoy drinking alcohol with your meals, or would like a "better" choice when ordering off the menu on a dinner, then maybe a glass of some good red wine is the thing to do!





IF YOU READ THIS, YOU MIGHT CONSIDER JOINING THESE NEWSLETTERS: