Thursday, 30 April 2009

Wine for the Health Conscious

I read a very interesting article on the Guardian website today,, all about how wine can help men to live up to 5 years longer than a teetotaller, and have less chance of a heart attack as well! The research conducted by Dr Marinette Streppel at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands and went on to be published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

It found that men, who consumed less than 20 grams of alcohol daily over an extended period, could prolong their life by up to two years more than those who avoided any alcohol at all. It also discovered that men, who drink less than half a glass of wine specifically on a daily basis, can live two and a half years longer than those who drink beer and spirits. Not only that but they can also live an average five years longer than someone who is completely teetotal; of those five years, researchers attributed two years to the effect of alcohol intake and the other three years to the effects of wine consumption.

Interestingly, the survey showed that 70% of the wine consumed during it was red. Here in the UK, we might want to take note of that as last year we ‘only’ drank 720 million bottles of the red stuff, in comparison to 764 million bottles of white, but a mere 150 million bottles of rose (that’s over 1,634 million bottles of wine we drank as a nation last year…wow!)

Alcohol campaigners, unsurprisingly, see the idea of promoting drinking as a healthy option as dangerous, pointing out that there is a drop in life expectancy of men consuming more that half a glass of wine per day. They’re not alone, with other research this year already highlighting the dangers to women, with results showing that women who drank a small glass of wine per day had an increased chance of getting cancer.

Both of these research studies highlight just how far away we are on concluding whether or not wine is good for your health. In my opinion, we’ll probably never get there, but I think as long as people are sensible with their alcohol consumption and follow both guidelines on the topic, as well as leading a healthy lifestyle – que sera, sera!

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