Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wine Drinkers Rejoice

Why? Because TIME magazine just reported that wine, especially red wine is good for you. Yes, I’ve read similar reports before, but this particular article somehow seemed more convincing to me.  Could it be because I drink a glass of wine almost every night and wanted someone to tell me I should keep it up? Perhaps.

When I saw the title of the article, “Here’s what happens when you drink red wine every night,” I groaned, thinking it would be an admonishment to stop drinking, accompanied by some scary medical picture. Just like the stories of old about eggs, bacon and other tasty foods being bad for you, the take on wine has been all over the board.

This time, though, Ben-Gurion University researchers set out determine “how safe and effective it is for … those with well-controlled type-2 diabetes … to drink moderately... [because] people with type-2 diabetes are more likely than the general population to develop cardiovascular disease and have lower levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol ...”

Their test group included 224 people who fit this profile and who did not currently drink wine, and each one was assigned to drink one of three liquids daily at dinner: five ounces of mineral water, dry white wine or dry red wine.  Over the two years of the test, they also followed a Mediterranean diet.

OK, so far so good. My husband and I kinda, sorta follow a Mediterranean diet because I’m Greek and like olive oil, olives, feta cheese and the like.  We eat plenty of lean meat and fish and green vegetables. No mineral water for me, but I have a glass of red or white wine most nights, and except when out with friends, usually keep to only one glass. So what were the results of the two-year test?

 “… Red wine drinkers had significantly increased their levels of good HDL cholesterol and had a more beneficial cholesterol ratio compared to the group that drank water, [and] … were also the only group to experience a significant drop in components of metabolic syndrome.” The other bit of good news was that both red and white wine drinkers said they slept better.  Regardless of whether the participants drank water or wine, there were no adverse effects.

If you enjoy a nightly glass of wine like I do, this is great news all by itself, but it gets better:
The results made sense to Dr. James O’Keefe, chief of preventive cardiology at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute (who was not involved in the study.) He noted that the high resveratrol levels and unique antioxidants in red wine would all contribute to a positive result and that red wine with dinner would lower your blood sugar level. “The post-meal spike in sugar is one of Americans’ main sources of inflammation, which contributes to everything from diabetes to dementia to heart disease and arthritis, he adds.” A little red wine with dinner “makes your system more able to sop up the sugar and the calories that you’re consuming.”
Like many of us of a certain age, I worry that I’ll eventually develop dementia, and I already have a touch of arthritis. I take Aleve and apply ice to soothe my arthritic joints. Now when I sip that nightly glass of wine, I’ll consider it another weapon in my fight to stave off arthritis.  And hey, if it helps ward off dementia, I’ll drink to that too.