Even before the first book was written about wine in 1410 by a French doctor, the virtues of drinking wine had long been touted since the first century. The fact that wine contains certain compounds that add to longevity is apparent in what has become known as "The French Paradox" theory.
For France, which has had the lowest prevalence of obesity among nine northern European countries and among the lowest of Westernized countries in the world, these results raise some important social and cultural questions. The so-called French paradox -- the belief that there is something in the French lifestyle, red wine perhaps that protects them against obesity, heart disease, and diabetes -- may be a myth or it may be a truism that is passing into history. As more and more French men and women adopt a lifestyle that is increasingly American -- fast foods, processed foods, more soda pop and caloric intake, little or no exercise -- they may be entering the front end of the obesity and diabetes epidemics that began in America nearly 20 years ago.
Remember I blogged about Pasta? Pasta isn't bad for you it's the creamy fat laden sauces. Marinara is still the healthiest sauce we can marry with our Pasta. Okay back to wine.
With further study the connection between wine and longevity was traced to anti-oxidants and natural occurring chemicals found within the seeds and skin of the grape, though it is not certain whether the grape itself can render theses benefits in the same manner.
One of the most widely known benefits of wine consumption relates to the heart, and it is known that wine improves heart health by increasing the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) within the body. Wine also reduces the amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) and when consumed with a meal the delayed absorption of food that wine causes in the gastrointestinal tract reduces the growth of arterial muscle cells.
A reduction of these smooth muscle cells insures that arteries stay clear and healthy, and blood pressure is lowered as a result. This is not the only benefit that wine offers, however, a reduction in the risk of certain cancers has also been noted, and even a reduced risk of kidney stones in women is listed as a potential benefit connected with wine consumption.
That is not to say that everyone should drink wine though, and it is important to remember that when mixed with medications, even over-the-counter drugs, the resulting damage to the liver and kidneys associated with those products is increased. The heavy consumption of wine in fact, raises the risk of some diseases that it is known to reduce the risk of. With people suffering the effects of diabetes, or gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers wine should be avoided, and when paired with certain situations it can be dangerous to drink wine, such is the case when operating a motor vehicle. Wine may also impair a person's judgment and in some cases may cause migraine headaches, though changes in the fermentation process have lowered the risk of severe headaches.